DEWAS | Decentralized Water Supply
Water supply – a poverty-related Basic Needs Service
Access to clean water constitutes the basis for a minimum standard of living and enables the deprived to improve their quality of life. Water supply for household and agricultural use is thus a key component of poverty-oriented Basic Needs Services.
The willingness of the target group to actively participate in the project realisation is essential for the sustainability of any action and is a precondition for project implementation. BORDA incorporates only environmentally friendly technologies and the renewable energy sources into the technology selection process.
Particularly in rural, mountainous areas with little rainfall, water sources are often several hundred meters away from houses and fields. People in these often agricultural regions may need to walk long distances in order to fetch water and carry it back to their villages. Moreover, the lack of accessible clean water constitutes serious health hazards. Dim prospects for socio-economic development under these conditions can fuel mass migration to urban areas, with dreams of a better life.
Where conventional water supply systems fail
Local and state governments have continuously failed in their efforts to supply water to rural and mountainous areas. Conventional systems that channel water over long distances from rivers or big reservoirs, or that employ diesel motor pumps to deliver water to mountainous villages are expensive and rarely show positive long-term results. On the contrary, such programmes often can have a demoralising effect on the participating population.
The failure stems from the concept and technologies of the systems employed:
Water supply - a global issue
Water is essential for life. However, 1.2 billion people have no regular access to safe drinking water. The UN Millennium Development Goals aim to halve the number of people without access to water by 2015. In March 2003, the UN also proclaimed the period from 2005 to 2015 International Decade for Action on the subject 'Water for Life'. The intent was to call attention to the vital role of water and its urgency for human development around the world.
Water scarcity mostly affects poor countries and constitutes a threat to food security and economic development. Without sufficient water farmers cannot produce enough food and industries depending on regular water supplies struggle or collapse.
At the same time, 90% of the wastewater produced worldwide is discharged into the water cycle without receiving sufficient treatment.
80% of all diseases and 25% of all deaths in developing countries are a result of water contamination. Thus, water supply and wastewater treatment together play a key role in the fight against poverty, the reduction of environmental pollution and the prevention of conflicts.
Successes in India , China and Vietnam
Since 1981, BORDA has been active in the dissemination of poverty-oriented decentralized water supply systems in remote rural and mountainous areas. The implementation and continuous improvement of demand oriented approaches has led to notable successes in India, China and Vietnam. The water lifting technology of the Hydraulic Ram (HydRam) is a feasible solution for the geographic and economic problems of the farmers in remote mountainous areas.
Characteristics of the HydRam
Suitable for remote areas
Workshops and Seminars
The demand for this concept was reaffirmed by all involved stakeholders in various information and awareness campaigns, as well as in conferences (NET 2001 in China and NET 2002 in India), seminars and workshops organised by BORDA
Capacity Building and training for partner organisations
It is necessary to adapt services to regional conditions and specific user demands and to fulfill training requirements of partner organisations. Thus, ‘Good Practices’ are first introduced by pilot or demonstration projects. Results are then integrated into plans going forward.
The implementation concept is documented in the ‘HydRam Handbook’. Together with regional studies and surveys, the handbook forms the basis for further dissemination.
1. Participation of user groups
Water User Committees are founded to organise the participation during construction, O&M and fee collection.
2. Involvement of local, regional and national authorities
3. Willingness of implementing partner organisations to learn and grow
High system flexibility
Over the course of one thousand decentralized water supply system installations, BORDA has developed a range of technical options that adapt the technology to user demands and topographic conditions:
Water for drinking, household use and irrigation
The HydRam lifts water. The source determines whether the water can be used for drinking, consumption or irrigation. The system can be configured to deliver different quantities of water to consumption water tanks in the villages or to irrigation tanks on the fields.
Simple and efficient technology
As long as there is a river, stream or canal with sufficient inclination, the HydRam provides a simple solution for both domestic and agricultural water supply – 24 hours per day, 12 months a year.
The HydRam is based on the ‘water hammer effect'. Kinetic energy obtained from flowing water of small rivers or streams is utilised for lifting a specific quantity of water (maximum height: 120 m).
The lifted water output depends on the ratio of the lift (height) to the water drop (h/H). For example, with a ratio of 10:1, the lifted water output is between 2 m³ and 300 m³ per day, depending on the size of the HydRam in use.
Produced in Asia
Initiated by BORDA, HydRam units are produced in India , China and Vietnam with production cost between 250 and 1.400 € (depending on the size).
Informing key stakeholders
Early information dissemination to key stakeholders is vital to ensure continuous support for the programme on a macro-level.
Users/communities are informed and choose technical options and service models.
Project planning includes technical and socio-economic feasibility studies, as well as construction design and legal aspects.
BORDA experts facilitate training programs for qualified staff of partner organisations to strengthen capacities of the local service provider.
To ensure high quality standards, major tasks are carried out by qualified experts. User participation in construction work reduces costs and generates ownership identification among beneficiaries. User committees are trained by experts for sustainable O&M.
Both internal and external evaluations ensure the quality of the service provider system and help improve performance.
Spreading up-front costs amongst stakeholders, cost efficiency is increased; furthermore, O&M can be financed by user fees.
The international BORDA network facilitates further dissemination (knowledge transfer, trainings, conferences, cooperation between experts from partner organisations).