Rural Water Supply: Metrics for Sustainability

Towards a Universal Measure of What Works on Rural Water Supply : Rural Water Metrics Global Framework

One of the most pervasive development issues related to the provision of rural water supply services is the lack of sustainability. Assessing and measuring sustainability is a difficult task; to date no clear consensus has emerged on which indicators to use. Unlike in the urban water supply and sanitation where universally recognized indicators exist, the rural water supply sub-sector still lacks a universal metrics global framework. This is because the rural water sector has a wide variety of service levels (water points and piped systems) as well as type of service providers (communities, governments and private sector). The adoption of such universal framework by adapting country monitoring systems will facilitate improved national and global reporting and analysis.

Aguaconsult was contracted by the World Bank's Water Global Practice, which made rural water supply services a key challenge area, to carry out a landscaping and analysis of existing frameworks and indicators in use by a range of governments, development partners and donor agencies; the study was conducted in association with IRC of the Netherlands.

This publication summarizes the methodology and conclusions of a study aimed at proposing a Rural Water Metrics Framework that was based on the findings of analyzing 40 rural water supply indicator frameworks. The proposed Global Framework contains minimum, basic, and advanced indicators to be tailored according to each country context. The study finalizes presenting a total of 24 indicators as being key to monitoring RWSS and proposes further validation and dissemination with regional and global partners in the short term, as well as engagement with regional platforms working on water issues for their framework adoption in the long-term to support data sharing and analysis. Download the brief here.

Agenda for change

Agenda For Change delivers new generic road map to apply principles for collective action and support to local governments

The Agenda For Change initiative was launched in 2015 with a group of like minded organizations recognizing the need to change 'business as usual' in the sector and to set out what we think we need to do differently so that everyone, everywhere can use water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services that last forever. The first step was a to develop a set of principles to guide our actions in the years to 2030 (end date for achieving universal access to WASH).

Aguaconsult, along with the other core founding members, including Water For PeopleWaterAid and IRC, have been collaborating in a number of countries to align behind local government and coordinate support so that it is more transformative, rather than fragmenting and undermining permanent institutions and actors responsible for delivering WASH services.

A new roadmap has been developed as a tool to enable different actors, working in a range of decentralized settings, to think through and plan their work, whilst at the same time putting local government in the driving seat. The roadmap presented here is not meant to be prescriptive. Systems strengthening processes are rarely linear and do not follow narrowly-defined steps, and as such we recognise that it is often the case that users may start halfway along such a roadmap, go back some steps, to then move forward again. Rather, the roadmap presents a framework of elements for a systems-building agenda for WASH services at the district level. The specific sequencing of activities and even whole steps will need to be adjusted to the context of a specific country or even district, recognizing that countries and sectors move at different speeds and are in various stages of development

We acknowledge that this roadmap is still a work in progress in most countries, and few districts have seen through all the steps. As and when more experiences are gathered, this document will be updated; download the road map here.