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Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services


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This book explores the links between global reform in public services towards accountability through local and community-driven development (LCDD) and trends towards more accountability in water services in rural and periurban areas in developing countries. The book’s proposition is that the new approach of multiple use water services (MUS) is the pivot between the two. MUS is a public services approach that takes poor people’s multiple water needs as the starting point for planning and providing water services. Since its emergence in the early 2000s, MUS has been tried out in 22 countries. Pilot projects and scaling up have taken place especially in a) the WASH subsector (as ‘domestic-plus’), b) the irrigation sub-sector (as ‘irrigation-plus’), c) the water sector without a pre-defined priority use (as ‘MUS-by-design’), and d) implicitly in the new generation of multi-sectoral local and community driven development (LCDD) programmes wherever communities prioritize improvements in water development and management (as ‘implicit MUS’). Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services uses the accountability triangle between citizens, policymakers and service providers and related concepts derived from global public services reform to analyse past pilot projects and scaling up of these four MUS modalities, and to recommend future steps. Evidence is mainly derived from MUS Scoping Studies in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nepal, and Tanzania; an MUS Roundtable supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, and from insights generated by over 200 case studies collected in the repository of the MUS Group. On this basis, the book develops three messages, one about the ‘why’ and two about the ‘how’ of scaling up MUS.
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Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services
Praise for this book
‘This book provides a compelling argument for the water sector to look at MUS
much more strategically, and for the growing number of local and community-
driven development programmes to realize their potential in providing for the
multiple basic needs around water services that poor communities grapple with
across the developing world.’
Janmejay Singh, former Coordinator of the Community-Driven Development (CDD)
Community of Practice, World Bank
‘This book integrates what until now have remained separate, namely the
drinking water and irrigation sub-sectors, despite more than two decades of
efforts at alignment. The book provides a practical guide on how to overcome
this articial divide, and how investing in local water service provision can
make a real difference for people, not only in terms of their health but also their
wealth. This well-written book is not only a must-read for water engineers, local
government planners, agricultural extension workers and public health ofcers,
but also, and essentially, for politicians!’
Pieter van der Zaag, Professor of Water Resources Management,
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands
‘At last a book that tells us why MUS can both break down problematic silos in
the water sector and provide multiple benets to enhance human well-being.
It also provides us with powerful lessons regarding scaling up and public sector
accountability. This book is a must-read for anybody concerned with pro-poor
and gender equitable water services and for solutions that emerge from the
grounded experiences of local water users around the world.’
Lyla Mehta, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies,
University of Sussex, UK
Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services
Accountability in the water sector
Barbara vanKoppen, Stef Smits,
Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio and John B. Thomas
Practical Action Publishing Ltd
The Schumacher Centre
Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby,
Warwickshire CV23 9QZ, UK
Copyright © International Water Management Institute, 2014
ISBN 978-1-85339-829-2 Hardback
ISBN 978-1-85339-830-8 Paperback
ISBN 978-1-78044-829-9 Library Ebook
ISBN 978-1-78044-830-5 Ebook
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written permission of the publishers.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
The authors have asserted their rights under the Copyright Designs and
Patents Act 1988 to be identied as authors of this work.
vanKoppen, B., Smits, S., Rumbaitis del Rio, C. and Thomas, J.B. (2014)
Scalingup Multiple Use Water Services: Accountability in the Water Sector,
Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing
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About the authors vii
Preface ix
Acknowledgements xi
Acronyms xii
1 Rationale and aim 1
Rationale 1
Proposition, aim, methodology, and structure 3
Audience 5
2 At the crossroads of accountability in public services and
multiple use water services 7
Public sector reform towards accountability for improved
performance 7
Current performance and accountability in the water sub-sectors 12
Piloting and scaling up MUS 19
Conclusion 24
3 The higher human development performance of MUS 27
Leveraging existing capitals 27
Own priorities 28
Multiple benets 28
Cost-effective multipurpose infrastructure 29
Efcient management of multiple sources 30
Conclusion 32
4 Scaling up the +plus approaches 33
Widening the mandate of one’s job 33
Horizontal co-ordination 38
Conclusions and recommendations for scaling up the +plus
approaches 46
5 Scaling up MUS-by-design 51
MUS-by-design through implementing agencies 52
MUS-by-design through local government 55
Conclusions and recommendations for scaling up MUS-by-design 57
6 Implicit MUS in local and community-driven development 61
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme 62
Other LCDD programmes 65
Conclusions and recommendations for scaling up implicit MUS 68
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
7 Conclusions and recommendations 71
The higher human development performance of MUS 71
Human development outcomes and re-alignment at central levels 72
Co-production of services at local levels 73
Recommendations 74
References 75
About the authors
Dr Barbara van Koppen is Principal Researcher in Poverty, Gender and
Water at the International Water Management Institute. She has 30 years
of experience in action research and implementation of water services for
multiple uses to poor women and men, and pro-poor water law in Africa, Asia
and Latin America. She has written more than 80 international publications
and is the co-ordinator of the MUS Group.
Stef Smits is Senior Programme Ofcer and Co-ordinator of the Latin America
Regional Programme for IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, based
in The Hague. He has more than 10years of experience in rural water supply,
particularly in Latin America and Southern Africa. He has (co)authored various
books and journal articles on rural water supplies, including on multiple use
of water in such supplies, and is the secretary of the MUS Group.
Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio joined The Rockefeller Foundation in 2007.
As a Senior Associate Director, DrRumbaitis del Rio has worked on initiatives
related to climate change resilience in urban development, climate smart
agriculture, water services delivery, and marine conservation and shing.
After receiving a doctoral degree in ecology from the University of Colorado,
she became a post-doctoral fellow conducting research on sustainable
development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She has worked in
SriLanka, Kenya, Ethiopia, India, Thailand and other countries.
John B. Thomas has been Program Associate at The Rockefeller Foundation
since 2011. His work is focused on revaluing ecosystems, sheries and
aquaculture, water, and agricultural development. Before this, he worked on
a project to develop innovative sanitation solutions that met the needs of
Cambodia’s rural poor through a partnership with the Hasso Plattner Institute
of Design and International Development Enterprises – Cambodia (iDE). He
has also worked in Kenya, Uganda and Namibia.
This book explores the links between global reform in public services towards
accountability through local and community-driven development (LCDD)
and trends towards more accountability in water services in rural and peri-
urban areas in developing countries. The book’s proposition is that the new
approach of multiple use water services (MUS) is the pivot between the two.
MUS is a public services approach that takes poor people’s multiple water
needs as the starting point for planning and providing water services. Since
its emergence in the early 2000s, MUS has been tried out in 22 countries.
Pilot projects and scaling up have taken place especially in a)the WASH sub-
sector (as ‘domestic-plus’), b) the irrigation sub-sector (as ‘irrigation-plus’),
c)the water sector without a pre-dened priority use (as ‘MUS-by-design’), and
d)implicitly in the new generation of multi-sectoral local and community-
driven development (LCDD) programmes wherever communities prioritize
improvements in water development and management (as ‘implicit MUS’).
This book uses the accountability triangle between citizens, policymakers
and service providers and related concepts derived from global public services
reform to analyse past pilot projects and scaling up of these four MUS modalities,
and to recommend future steps. Evidence is mainly derived from MUS Scoping
Studies in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nepal, and Tanzania; an MUS Roundtable
supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, and from insights generated by over
200 case studies collected in the repository of the MUS Group. On this basis,
the book develops three messages, one about the ‘why’ and two about the
‘how’ of scaling up MUS.
First the ‘why’. MUS has ve strengths because of the nature of water but they
have been hidden in past service delivery because of the compartmentalization
of the water sector into many sub-sectors. These strengths have been proven to
lead to higher human development performance (or plausibly do). First, MUS
leverages and supports water self-supply; self-supply is people’s investment
in water infrastructure creating the human, physical, technical, nancial and
institutional capital of local water development and management. Second,
MUS follows people’s priorities, so that services are owned and locally
appropriate. Third, MUS generates multiple water uses and so multiple health
and wealth benets in people’s multifaceted livelihoods. Fourth, MUS develops
multipurpose infrastructure, which is more cost-effective as a rule; single-use
infrastructure is the exception. Lastly, MUS efciently considers the local water
cycle and the use and re-use of its multiple sources.
The second message is about how to tap into these strengths, and the key
changes required centrally by policymakers and managers of sub-sectoral water
service provision organizations. They allocate funding and organize both the
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
engineering expertise and the expertise to render water use more benecial
for ultimate health and wealth impacts, for example hygiene, agronomy, or
marketing. Performance and job mandates are dominated by the expertise
to create health and wealth through a single water use, although in reality
performance tends to be measured as coverage, infrastructure construction,
or production targets. Central-level MUS adopters have sharpened their
performance to a goal of delivering water services, for multiple uses for human
development outcomes. They also seek to make expert support more demand-
driven and participatory, not just for a one-off project, but scaled up throughout
their own and other sub-sectors. More horizontal communication between
the water sub-sectors towards common goals for gender-equitable poverty
alleviation would overcome current contradictions and ignorance between
the sub-sectors. Such cross-sectoral goals could prioritize fund allocation and
statutory water allocation to basic domestic uses and also to basic productive
water uses by the poor. The latter is a domain for which neither the WASH nor
the irrigation sub-sector (or other sub-sectors) took much responsibility in the
past, despite international development goals and the socio-economic human
rights frameworks.
The third message regards participatory planning at local level for the
‘co-production of services’. This takes place in MUS-by-design projects
and implicitly seems to emerge in LCDD projects in which communities
prioritize water projects. The various pilot projects have contributed to the
‘proof of concept’ of MUS-by-design. This included initiatives for the market-
led development and sale of affordable technologies for self-supply. To
institutionalize participatory planning for MUS nationally, planning through
local government is perfectly possible, provided local government is mature,
as in India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and central
funding streams are available that are earmarked for the priorities set in the
participatory planning process. Further research on the water components of
these large-scale LCDD projects is expected to highlight how communities and
local authorities have begun to tap into the ve strengths of MUS and improve
their performance.
These ndings underpin the book’s nal recommendation to consolidate
dialogue between global public services reform, MUS, and the water sector both
in the continued piloting and scaling up of MUS and in in-depth comparative
documentation, analysis, exchange, synthesis and advocacy.
This book is based on the experiences of innovating and scaling up of multiple
use water services by a network of MUS champions, many of whom are
core members of the MUS Group. Much of the conceptualization, practical
implementation and change, evidence, and views presented here are the fruit
of exchange and learning in the MUS Group. We gratefully acknowledge their
contribution to the contents of this book.
The Rockefeller Foundation provided nancial support to synthesize these
experiences at country and global level, and to hold an MUS Roundtable at
the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center – the most important steps in
compiling this book. We thank The Rockefeller Foundation for this opportunity.
We are also grateful for the nancial support for this book from the International
Water Management Institute and the Research Program on Water, Land and
Ecosystems of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research.
Last but not least, we thank Sally Sutton and Jaap Bijl for their excellent
comments on earlier drafts.
AWARD Association for Water and Rural Development
CDD community-driven development
CWP Community Work Programme
INGO international non-governmental organization
INWEPF International Network for Water and Ecosystem in
Paddy Fields
IWMI International Water Management Institute
IWRM integrated water resource management
LCDD local and community-driven development
MG-NREGS Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee
MASSMUS mapping systems and services for multiple uses
MDG Millennium Development Goal
MUS multiple use water services
NGO non-governmental organization
O&OD opportunities and obstacles to development
PAF Poverty Alleviation Fund
RSA Republic of South Africa
RVWRMP Rural Village Water Resource Management Project
RWSN Rural Water Supply Network
SDG Sustainable Development Goal
TASAF Tanzania Social Action Fund
WASH water, sanitation and hygiene
WSP World Bank Water and Sanitation Program
WUMP water use master plan
Rationale and aim
This chapter introduces the rationale of the book, which is a remarkable but hitherto
ignored complementarity between the global reform in public services for more
accountability to the poor and multiple use water services. The book’s proposition
is that strengthening these synergies will improve the water sector’s performance
in poverty alleviation and human development. The aim of the book is therefore
to explore these synergies, based on the literature of public services reform as well
as scoping studies and other documentation from more than a decade of piloting
and scaling up of MUS across the world, in particular in the wash, sanitation and
hygiene, and irrigation sub-sectors. The book’s audience and structure are described.
Keywords: public services reform, accountability, WASH sub-sector, irrigation
sub-sector, multiple use water services (MUS)
In the past 10–15 years two approaches have emerged to improve public
service delivery for gender-equitable poverty alleviation and human
development: global public services reform in various sectors to strengthen
accountability, and local and community-driven development (LCDD); and
multiple use water services (MUS) in the water sector. Both approaches seek to
reach the poor better and to meet their multifaceted needs. They place citizens
centre stage as drivers of their own development and then strengthen service
providers’ accountability through citizens’ empowerment and co-production
of services. However, the existing and potential synergies between these two
approaches have so far received little attention.
Worldwide public services reform covers many sectors, including the water,
health, education, transport, and energy sectors. Communities and professionals
from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donor
agencies collaborate with civil society, research centres, and the private sector
to improve their performance by both strengthening accountability to the poor
and innovating a new generation of poverty alleviation programmes (World
Bank, 2004; Binswanger and Nguyen, 2005; DeRegt, 2005; Binswanger-Mkhize
etal., 2009; World Bank, 2011; Tembo, 2012). The decentralized co-production of
services in these programmes has ve pillars: the empowerment of communities;
empowerment of local government; re-alignment of central government;
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
downward accountability; and capacity building (Binswanger-Mkhize etal.,
2009). These approaches are widely recognized to improve performance in
both poverty alleviation and human development, as well as in meeting the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the new Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs). They also operationalize states’ duties to respect, protect, and full
international human rights frameworks, in particular the socio-economic rights
realized through public services.
Public service reform is changing water interventions in three ways. First,
the LCDD approach has been applied to several water, sanitation and hygiene
(WASH) programmes (DeRegt, 2005; Binswanger-Mkhize etal., 2009; World
Bank, 2011). Second, at a much larger scale, and possibly to the surprise of
some water and development professionals, water components emerged in
the rapidly growing multi-sectoral LCDD programmes wherever communities
prioritized water interventions out of the range of options. This was the
case at an unprecedented scale in India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Scheme (MG-NREGS). This scheme, which has been
implemented nationwide through local government, provides minimum
wage employment to over 50million people each year. Communities and
local government ofcials choose which assets are created with this labour. In
two-thirds of all projects, communities prioritized water and drought-proong
assets, amounting to a total value of US$3billion per year (Shah etal., 2010;
Verma etal., 2011; Verma and Shah, 2012a, 2012b). Well over half of these
assets were reported as being for multiple uses (Malik, 2011; Verma etal., 2011).
Thus, by changing the programme set-up and decentralizing fund allocation
to communities and local governments through well-designed community-
driven planning processes, MG-NREGS became the world’s largest rural water
programme and, as we will show, the largest MUS programme.
Lastly, the water sector itself is also integrating elements of public services
reform. For example, in both the WASH and irrigation sub-sectors, the focus
is shifting from infrastructure construction (as output) to providing water
services in the sense of water provision of agreed quantities and quality at agreed
times and sites for people’s actual use (as outcome). The management of public
schemes becomes more participatory as well. Transparency International and
the Water Integrity Network call for greater transparency and accountability
in the water sector (WaterAid, 2006, 2008; WSP, 2010). There is also a growing
recognition of people’s own investments in infrastructure for self-supply.
However, these shifts take place within many different water sub-sectors. The
water sector is highly compartmentalized, with many sub-sectors that tend
to focus on just one element of the hydrological cycle. This could be one
water use, domestic use or irrigation but not both, or sheries, or using only
one source for the integrated physical water resources. This lack of horizontal
co-ordination means that there is hardly any co-production of water services
even within the water sector. As a result, people’s water needs are, at best,
only partially met. The sustainability of services and human development
performance are both worse than they could be.
The other approach that has emerged since the early 2000s is MUS. MUS
is a participatory, poverty-focused water services approach that takes people’s
multiple water needs as a starting point for planning and designing water
services (Moriarty etal., 2004; vanKoppen, 2006; Renwick etal., 2007). MUS
focuses on people in rural and peri-urban areas with diverse agriculture-based
livelihood strategies, the majority of whom are poor. They need water for many
uses: drinking, other domestic uses such as washing, cooking and cleaning,
livestock, (supplementary) irrigation, sheries, tree growing, small-scale
enterprise, crafts, and ceremonial uses. They are also very vulnerable to oods
and other extreme events.
The MUS approach has been applied in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin
America. The pilot projects revealed ve partially proven and possible strengths
of MUS for poverty alleviation and human development: leveraging self-supply;
community ownership; locally appropriate priorities; multiple benets from
multipurpose infrastructure; and efcient management of multiple sources.
Nevertheless, it appeared difcult to scale up the ‘islands of success’ and to
institutionalize MUS into existing government structures in the water sector
(Smits etal., 2010). The ‘simple’ intention to meet poor people’s multiple
water needs has far-reaching implications. People need a voice to express their
multiple needs and priorities, while central agencies and authorities have to
re-align to meet those needs, which are often well beyond the narrow mandate
of their sub-sector. These are precisely the challenges of public services reform.
MUS also aligns with the trend towards accountability in sub-sectors, but
applies it across sub-sectors. MG-NREGS conrmed the potential benets of
water services reform to MUS: if communities and their authorities are given the
opportunity and ownership, they often opt for leveraging self-supply and aim
to get multiple benets from multipurpose infrastructure, while considering
the local water cycle in a holistic manner.
In sum, these two new development approaches are closely intertwined.
Global reform in public services brings extensive experiences from worldwide
piloting and scaling up in a range of sectors, along with robust generic
synthesis and conceptualization. Moreover, it brings experience of innovative
approaches for community participation in co-producing water services, and
doing so at a large scale. MUS in turn brings insights in the specics of water
resources development and management and water’s contribution to people’s
multifaceted livelihoods, in particular for the poor and women. MUS also brings
empirical and conceptual lessons about potential and actual improvements in
performance and about piloting and water sector reforms that already began
in order to scale up accountability and decentralized co-production of services
that meet poor people’s multiple water needs.
Proposition, aim, methodology, and structure
This book proposes that further exploration of these synergies will open up
new opportunities for governments, NGOs, donors, civil society and the
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
private sector to improve public services performance for human development
and poverty alleviation in water development and management in rural and
peri-urban areas in developing countries.
It aims to explore the synergies between global public services reform and
MUS and to identify both evidence-based and potential opportunities to
improve the contribution of water interventions to gender-equitable poverty
alleviation and human development.
This analysis is based on a literature review of public services reform with
a focus on generic concepts and syntheses that also apply to the water sector
as well as opportunities and obstacles to scaling up MUS. Much evidence on
MUS piloting and scaling up comes from the MUS Group, a network that
enables the exchange, learning, advocacy and synthesis of lessons learnt
among its 14international core partners and over 350 individual members.
The repository of the MUS Group contains 200 case studies (MUS Group, 2013).
This book builds on ve national MUS scoping studies in particular, and their
synthesis on the barriers to and potential for scaling up MUS. These scoping
studies, conducted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
and the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and supported by The
Rockefeller Foundation, are from India (Verma etal., 2011), Nepal (Basnet and
vanKoppen, 2011), Ethiopia (Butterworth etal., 2011), Ghana (Smits etal.,
2011b), and Tanzania (vanKoppen and Keraita, 2012) and are synthesized in
vanKoppen and Smits (2012). The analysis in this book also benets from
the MUS Roundtable in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in 2012,
supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, in which global practitioners,
researchers and policymakers involved in MUS took stock of past experiences
to strategize on next steps (Ramaru and Hagmann, 2012).
MUS has been promoted most actively in a collaborative effort between
the WASH and the irrigation sub-sectors, so this book will focus on those
sectors, where most documentation originates. Evidence of MUS in other sub-
sectors, such as sheries and livestock, is scarce. Part of the analysis will be
by logical conjecture. MUS is still too new for any ex-post evaluation and
impact assessment. Moreover, monitoring and documentation of global public
service delivery is weak in general, and MUS is no exception. In addition, the
identication of promising solutions for better performance – the goal of this
book – is intrinsically a matter of making a case, by conjecture, for the design
of envisaged action that has yet to be implemented.
The book is structured as follows. In Chapter2, we elaborate our proposition.
We rst present the insights from global public services reform that apply to the
water sector in general and to the opportunities and obstacles faced in scaling
up MUS in particular. We then move to the WASH and irrigation sub-sectors
and assess their respective performances in alleviating poverty and bringing
about gender-equitable human development, and their internal current trends
towards more accountability to overcome weaknesses. We conclude with
background information on MUS piloting and scaling up and show how MUS
takes these trends forward within both sub-sectors (as the so-called ‘domestic-
plus’ and ‘irrigation-plus’ MUS modalities), and increasingly also across the
sub-sectors as the ‘MUS-by-design’ modality. We call water components that
emerge from communities and their local authorities in LCDD approaches such
as MG-NREGS the ‘implicit MUS’ modality.
Chapter3 pulls evidence and conjecture together to outline the ve reasons
why MUS is bound to improve water services performance, and also explains
why these ve strengths have not been discovered earlier.
In Chapter4, we present the lessons learnt from past efforts to scale up both
+plus approaches to re-align services at central levels. These lessons unravel
how the institutionalization of expertise in the sub-sectors denes single-use
mandates and how a widening up of those mandates would allow a sub-sector
to prioritize one use while also promoting other water uses. The chapter further
unravels the objections to scaling up of MUS that we heard within both sub-
sectors and that contradict and ignore the other sub-sector. A more consistent
and mutually supportive cross-sectoral view on funding and water allocation
priorities for pro-poor and gender-equitable water services is proposed.
Chapter5 discusses the co-production of services in the overview of pilot
projects of MUS-by-design. It analyses how hurdles were overcome but also
the remaining challenges. Opportunities are explored for potential scaling up
in the future through donors, implementing agencies, and local government.
Implicit MUS in MG-NREGS and other LCDD programmes that have
already succeeded on a large scale are further examined in Chapter6. This
highlights how the institutional space for MUS can both be created and include
opportunities for scaling up. We trace from the limited available information
how this space is used and what challenges are left.
Conclusions and recommendations on action-research to further consolidate
links between public services reform and MUS follow in Chapter7.
We have written this book for professionals interested in public services reform,
in particular around water, to highlight the promise these reforms hold for
gender-equitable poverty alleviation and the fullment of socio-economic
human rights and other internationally agreed goals. The book addresses
fundamental policy questions to senior policymakers and programme
managers in governments, donors and policy-relevant knowledge institutions.
However, the book is also for the technicians, practitioners and extension
workers on the ground who daily face the limitations of programme design
in their efforts to make the changes in people’s livelihoods successful. Their
discretionary efforts to still meet their clients’ multiple water needs despite
their narrow top-down instructions were vital in triggering MUS innovation.
At the crossroads of accountability
inpublic services and multiple use
This chapter outlines the background of our proposition. We rst present global
public services reform with a focus on concepts and lessons that apply seamlessly
to the water sector and will help in understanding the obstacles and opportunities
for piloting and scaling up MUS, as discussed in later chapters. This is followed by
an assessment of the current performance of both the WASH and irrigation sub-
sectors and the partial measures that both sub-sectors have already taken to reach
the poor and enhance accountability. The third section shows how MUS takes these
trends forward across the sub-sectors. The section introduces MUS, its origins, and
pilot projects from four different entry points or ‘MUS modalities’, and the scope
of the scaling up of each of these modalities (domestic-plus, irrigation-plus, MUS-
by-design, and implicit MUS). Documentation from these piloting and scaling-up
experiences is the evidence base for the later chapters.
Keywords: accountability triangle, silos, co-production of services, self-
supply, domestic-plus, irrigation-plus, MUS-by-design, implicit MUS
Public sector reform towards accountability for improved performance
The accountability triangle
The global knowledge base on accountability in public services entails many
conceptual and empirical insights that are also relevant for the water sector and
the remainder of this book. This section focuses on those. As an overarching
framework, the World Bank (2004) conceptualizes accountability in services
as a triangle between citizens (poor and non-poor), the state (politicians and
policymakers) and service-provider organizations, within which instructions
are given from the top down to the ‘frontline’ staff or local service provision
ofcers who interact with citizens on a day-to-day basis (see Figure 2.1). In this
triangle, relations in both directions are dened as accountable if: 1)there is a
delegation of, or request for an expected service; 2)there are nancial or other
rewards for delivering that service; 3) the service is actually delivered; and
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
4)the ability exists to enforce the expectation, which supposes; 5)that there is
sufcient information about the service performance. A long and a short route
to accountability are distinguished. The two sides of the triangle represent the
long route to accountability, and the base is the short route.
The compact and ‘silos’ in the long route to accountability
The long route has two legs. First, citizens hold their politicians to account. In
multi-party states this happens primarily through elections at local, regional
and national levels, but also by lobbying, protest, and other forms of civil
action. Citizens delegate an expectation of service delivery, for which many
pay taxes. Citizens may be able to enforce their expectations in a next round of
elections, provided they have sufcient information and reasonable promises
of improvement in that next round. In the water sector, this leg can explain,
for example, how the provision of drinking water or lowering of irrigation fees
could help politicians to gain votes.
In the second leg, politicians liaise with the policymakers who set the rules
and shape the organizational set-up that determines how those services are
provided. Policymakers in turn engage with service-provider organizations,
which are often government entities but can also be private or other providers
such as community-based organizations, NGOs, utilities, or faith-based groups.
The accountability relationships between policymakers and service providers
The state
Politicians Policymakers
Non-poor Poor
Coalitions/inclusion Management
Frontline Organizations
Figure 2.1 Triangle of service delivery and key relationships of power and
Source: World Bank, 2004
are called a ‘compact’ (for state entities) or a ‘contract’ (for private entities).
Compacts and contracts clarify performance agreements and rewards. Politicians
and policymakers can enforce these contracts by maintaining or changing
the service provider depending on its performance, at least if information on
performance is available. Although a compact can be a clear contract, the
compact is usually a broad agreement about a long-term relationship. It may
specify the rewards (and possibly the penalties) for the service provider’s actions
and outputs, but this is not always as specic and legally enforceable as a
contract. The frontline staff have to deliver the compact and have some level
of autonomy or discretion, depending on the service in question. They have to
reconcile their accountability upward to their superiors and their accountability
downward to their clients in the short route to accountability.
In the compact, the administrative structuring of service delivery through
higher level but separate sectors is also known as ‘silos’ (World Bank, 2004,
2011). Silos enable functional specialization and mobilize technical capacity.
However, each silo sets priorities at the highest levels and monitors performance
according to inputs and processes and, at best, sector-specic output indicators.
These priorities often differ from local priorities, as the silos have a tendency to
standardize priorities and not adjust for local contexts. In channelling resources
from the top down, each silo follows its own procedures and timetables,
creating major complexity on the ground. This hinders performance. Even
professionals who fully acknowledge the need to combine several services
for integrated, people-driven development admit at the same time that they
see the delivery of elements other than their own as ‘another department’s
problem’ (World Bank, 2011: 39). Obviously, technical and specialist expertise
is needed, so the challenge is integrating specialist expertise from one silo
with specialist expertise of another silo, and with communities’ knowledge,
according to communities’ priorities. Silos also occur in the private sector.
Organizational development science has coined the term of the ‘functional
silo syndrome’ to describe companies where different functions in the
company (such as manufacturing, sales, or legal affairs) become isolated and
a tall hierarchy develops in each one, to such an extent that they become
incapable of reciprocal operation with other related systems (Ensor, 1988; AME,
1988). The sectoral set-up certainly applies to the water sector with its many
sub-sectors that often operate in isolation in strongly hierarchical structures.
In Chapter4 we will discuss the stiing nature of these silos and how MUS
innovation can overcome this.
Co-production in the short route and in the decentralized long route to
accountability: LCDD
The short route to accountability is in the direct interaction between service
providers and citizens. Citizens’ voice is manifest as client power. Client
payments for water services, vouchers or other contributions hold service
providers accountable. Report cards, public spending tracking surveys and
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
complaint procedures also reinforce client power. The ability to choose from
among various service providers is crucial to enforce client expectations
vis-à-vis the service provider and a major weakness in monopolistic service
provision. In water services, clients can have this choice by investing in self-
supply. In self-supply, or ‘local’ or ‘private’ water development, citizens invest
in infrastructure construction, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation.
This is largely self-nanced and for their own use. People become their own
service provider. Private-sector supply chains of water equipment and services
increasingly support such self-supply. Obviously, when there are no public
services self-supply is the only option.
Clients can have more choice in the short route to accountability when
they become ‘co-producers’ of the service through participatory planning and
implementation, a feature that we will discuss in Chapters 5 and 6 of this book.
Co-production entails the empowerment of people, so the ‘expansion of assets
and capabilities of poor people to participate in, negotiate with, and hold
accountable institutions that affect their lives’ (Binswanger-Mkhize etal., 2009).
The World Bank and others have championed the community-driven
development (CDD) approach since the early 2000s, building on earlier
initiatives like the Social Grants. CDD often started as a separate ‘enclave’
approach, operating through implementing agencies in parallel to government
structures. This enabled pilot testing of bottom-up, demand-driven and
integrated approaches that are typically impossible within top-down
compartmentalized government structures. The projects often aim at both
development and employment creation, with either of these as the primary
goal. In these projects, policymakers and donors provide national funding,
which can be a pooled fund. Implementing agencies are tasked to support
communities in the informed bottom-up planning of services, choosing from a
menu of options, and these plans are funded and implemented. The inclusion
of poor communities, and women and the marginalized within a community, is
usually monitored by the systematic reporting of the wealth status and gender
of project participants.
Such decentralized co-production of services strengthens accountability
both in the short route to accountability (clients’ prioritization of services)
and in the rst leg of the long route (holding local authorities accountable
in their decisions over fund allocation). The second leg in the long route
to accountability is considerably simplied, for example as guidelines,
rapid approval procedures, village contracts, and social audits. Evidence is
accumulating that such community-driven public services are more cost-
effective and sustainable and have more livelihood impacts (World Bank, 2004,
2011; Binswanger and Nguyen, 2005; DeRegt, 2005). CDD projects appeared
especially successful for small infrastructure projects. Some CDD projects were
WASH projects (DeRegt, 2005).
Approaches by donors and implementing agencies, which have their
own resources, are often appropriate for innovating and piloting integrated
approaches, but they risk disappearing after project closure. Moreover, parallel
initiatives can undermine government sovereignty and their own service-
provision capacity. Therefore, CDD approaches increasingly supported local
government in ‘local and community-driven development approaches’
(LCDD). Importantly, the co-production of services also implies local-level
co-ordination of the various sectors, such as roads and transport, energy, health,
and education. This warrants the re-alignment of central line agencies.
In the past couple of years, LCDD projects have grown vastly, leading to
the multiplication of ‘several islands of success that have addressed a national
development problem to cover as much territory and population as possible
and appropriate’ (Binswanger-Mkhize etal., 2009). Indonesia, for example,
radically reformed its country-wide local government and service delivery
framework accordingly (World Bank, 2004). LCDD ‘harnesses social capital
through empowerment and increases social capital through scaling up’ through
the ve pillars of the empowerment of communities, empowerment of local
government, re-alignment of central government, accountability downward,
and capacity building (Binswanger-Mkhize etal., 2009).
Thus, the long and short routes to accountability are linked. Strongly
warning against any silver bullet, the literature suggests that addressing both
routes simultaneously is the most effective (World Bank, 2004).
Foreign aid, which also plays an important role in the water sector of many
countries, brings additional accountability relationships from donors to their
own constituencies and between recipient governments and donors. Both the
World Bank (2004) and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (OECD,
2008) underline that foreign aid should strengthen and support the national
development strategies of the sovereign state or should not undermine them.
Foreign aid should avoid creating parallel systems and procedures, for example
for reporting or procurement, which demand high transaction costs for the
fragmented array of projects. In practice, this means that solutions are sought
in channelling aid as sector budget support and sector-wide approaches,
certainly in countries with good governance. An important pillar of the Paris
Declaration is mutual accountability, in which donor and recipient countries
jointly take responsibility for development results, and commit to providing
more accountability to citizens and parliament for these results.
The accountability triangle framework enables one to assess how actual
relationships in any situation either contribute to, or hamper, service delivery,
and how pro-poor performance can be improved. Common distortions are,
for example, that efforts to scale up co-production of services come up against
the powers of central government vis-à-vis local people and their authorities,
resulting in slow progress at best. Also, manipulation of the electoral system
and political favours at national, district, and local levels distort service
provision. Service providers can also exert power over politicians, certainly if
they nance election campaigns. Similarly, powerful construction contractors
can get away with inated budgets. Local service provision ofcers may abuse
their discretionary powers. Last, but not least, power relations reinforce the
marginalization of poor men and especially poor women. In the long route,
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
poor groups have less political clout and politicians may not respond to their
needs. In the short route, poor people generally have less money to spend on
services, so providers are less likely to listen to them. Within communities, the
male elite may capture public resources and dominate ‘participatory’ planning
at the expense of the poor and women. At the same time, the delivery of sub-
standard services hits the poor hardest as they tend to be more vulnerable and
less able to create alternatives through self-supply.
Current performance and accountability in the water sub-sectors
This section sketches the current performance of poverty alleviation and
human development outcomes as well as trends towards accountability in the
WASH sub-sector. The WASH sub-sector’s overarching policy intention – as
was most recently made explicit in the proposal for the post-2015 sustainable
development indicators (JMP, 2012) – is to serve everybody with access to
sufcient amounts of safe water for drinking and other domestic uses and
sanitation, and which is sufciently accessible for residents. This universal
coverage would replace the current ambition of reducing lack of access by
half, as articulated by Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target7c. This
goal is also driven by the adoption of a human right to water and sanitation
(UN General Assembly, 2010).
The sub-sector has several expected impacts, but arguably the main
expectation is one of reducing morbidity and mortality through waterborne
diseases, as improved water supply and sanitation would cut some of the main
transmission routes of such diseases. Whereas many sub-sector documents
also state expected impacts on the well-being and productiveness of users,
referring for example to the reduced drudgery of women and girls in particular
and girls’ increased school attendance, these are considered additional side
benets, alongside the overall health impacts. This bias towards health is clear,
for example, in a recent evidence paper by DFID (2013) which goes to great
lengths to carry out a meta-analysis of evidence of all sorts of health impacts
– and particularly diarrhoeal morbidity − of WASH intervention, whereas the
‘non-health’ impacts are covered in a few pages. The seminal work by Hutton
and Haller (2004) and Hutton etal. (2007) goes further and examines in more
detail several of the other non-health impacts (alongside the health ones) of
access to improved WASH services – and assesses the costs and benets of
this – though notably does not include the productive uses of domestic water
supplies. This bias towards preventive health is also reected in the fact that
WASH in many countries still falls under the ultimate authority of a health
ministry (in several countries in Latin America) or public health engineering
department (India).
Despite the stated expected impact on health, the sector rarely measures
its performance in terms of, for example, reduced diarrhoeal morbidity, for
the simple reason that it is notoriously difcult to monitor and attributions
of changes in morbidity to WASH alone are impossible to make. Rather, the
sector has been using outputs as a yardstick for its performance, for example
the number of people provided with access to an improved water source, as
reected in the MDGs. By this measure, the performance of the WASH sub-
sector is reasonable. The MDG target for water supply was reached ve years
ahead of the 2015 deadline. By the end of 2011, 89per cent of the population
had access to improved water supplies. Of those without access, 83per cent
(or 636million people) live in rural areas. This means that rural water supply
coverage currently stands at 81per cent (WHO/UNICEF, 2013).
While such output measurement is relatively straightforward, it is
increasingly recognized that this only provides part of the picture. Therefore
there is a trend towards measuring outcomes (Schouten and Smits, 2014),
that is the levels of service that people receive, for example as reected in the
proposals for the post-2015 sector goals (JMP, 2012). Service levels indicate
the characteristics of the supply that people actually receive, for example in
terms of water quality, quantity or accessibility to residents (Lockwood and
Smits, 2011).
Using these indicators, the picture becomes more nuanced, as many services
are sub-standard and unsustainable. An estimated one out of three handpumps
in Sub-Saharan Africa does not work (RWSN Executive Steering Committee,
2010). Elsewhere, a similar percentage of schemes fail (World Bank, 2004;
Lockwood and Smits, 2011). And even where systems do work, they provide
sub-standard services, that is, they fail on one or more of the criteria of quality,
quantity or accessibility. Surveys in several districts in Ghana (Adank etal.,
2013), Burkina Faso (Pezon etal., 2013) and Uganda (Bey etal., 2014) found
that only 10–30per cent of water systems (both point sources and small piped
schemes) provided a service that met all ofcial standards. The NGO Improve
International keeps track of all the ‘sad stats’ of failing and underperforming
WASH services, and these gures reiterate the same points: about one in three
systems fail altogether, and of the ones that do not fail, most fail to meet
one or more service-level indicators (Improve International, 2012). Onda etal.
(2012) have shown that many ‘improved’ sources still have signicant water
quality risks. If water quality is to be truly accounted for, coverage with safe
water would only be 28per cent rather than the current estimate of 89per
cent (Onda etal., 2012).
One reason for system failure and underperformance is the problem that
most systems are installed by private contractors without much involvement of
public service providers, so no one is left properly equipped for maintenance.
However, the full reasons are manifold and complex, and have been the
subject of many studies (Schouten and Moriarty, 2003; Harvey and Reed, 2006;
Lockwood and Smits, 2011; Moriarty etal., 2013).
The WASH sub-sector is moving in various ways to more accountability
to overcome these flaws. First, since the late 1990s client voices are
being heard better through the ‘demand-responsive approach’ which has
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
rapidly gained ground (World Bank, 1998) and seeks a better match between
demand and supply. However, as Moriarty et al. (2013) argue, there are
fundamental weaknesses in this approach. In many instances, users’ demand
is insufcient. Users typically want water that is accessible and of sufcient
quantity, but have much less demand for safe water – which is, as seen above,
a key part of the public health focus of the sub-sector. Other users may in fact
want more than what is on offer: more water, closer to the homestead, but they
are not offered the choice of a higher level of service. Last but not least, a key
element of the demand-responsive approach, the upfront cash contribution
of users to the initial investment, is in reality often not made, or – for all
kinds of reasons – is set so low that it is no longer an expression of users’ real
demands. At the same time, upfront payment may be unaffordable for poor
men and especially poor women. They are over-represented among the
unserved because they cannot afford the tariffs charged for public water services
and are most in need of public support. All in all, the scope is limited for users
to express their demand and for that demand to be met. Users end up with
services that are either above or below what they asked for, and as a result
payment for services is limited, most of the time covering basic operation
and maintenance costs, but rarely rehabilitation or replacement costs (Fonseca
etal., 2013).
A second area in which the WASH sub-sector strengthens accountability is
through support to community-based service providers. Community-based
management remains the main service delivery model in rural areas. However,
as has now been widely recognized, community-based management has
limitations. Communities can manage their services to some extent, but there
are always operation and maintenance issues that they cannot address on their
own (Schouten and Moriarty, 2003; Harvey and Reed, 2006). As a result, there
has been a trend towards support to service providers by the authorities. In
the compact, the policymaker or ‘service authority’ keeps a role in oversight,
co-ordination, regulation and monitoring to enforce their expectations vis-à-vis
the service provider (Lockwood and Smits, 2011), and they organize ongoing
support to the service providers, which they provide either directly or via a
contracted entity, such as an NGO, utility or private actor (Smits et al., 2011a).
In addition, more professionalized forms of management are arising in some
rural areas, such as private operators or public utilities or combinations of
the two that follow clearer performance indicators as captured in contracts
between authorities and service providers (Lockwood and Smits, 2011). All of
this helps in the observed trend towards a service delivery approach (Moriarty
etal., 2013), under which the commitment is to provide clients with water at
agreed service levels, through a service delivery model, consisting of dened
service providers (typically community-based), with oversight and support
roles left in the hands of the authority, typically local government. In theory,
accountability relationships are crystallizing out. In practice, many problems
remain, particularly where local governments are underfunded for their support
and authority roles (Smits etal., 2011a).
Third, civil society organizations such as WaterAid and the Water Integrity
Network are calling for more accountability and equity by strengthening
citizens’ voice and control over service provider performance, for example
by introducing report cards and score cards, and exposing corruption and
mismanagement (WaterAid, 2006, 2008; WSP, 2010). However, these have
generally been focused on WASH in urban areas. Gónzalez de Asis etal. (2009)
and Velleman (2010) also provide a number of approaches, tools and examples
for strengthening accountability in the WASH sub-sector. Transparency
International (2008) in its annual global corruption report highlights a
number of ways to improve accountability within these as well as other water
Lastly, a trend towards more accountability is the growing recognition and
support for existing self-supply, in particular private household wells. Users
choose to use wells or develop other water systems if public service providers are
absent or underperform. This would increase pressure on the latter to improve
their services and be held accountable for that. Pursuing better health outcomes
through improved water services, WASH policymakers and service providers can
support private investments in various ways, such as developing technology for
private supplies, developing the technology supply chain, providing nancing
facilities, and ensuring an enabling policy environment (see Smits and Sutton,
2012). Support to private household wells can entail improved covers or linings
and better lifting devices (e.g. Sutton, 2007; Smits and Sutton, 2012; Sutton
etal., 2012). It is signicant that some of the earliest papers on self-supply in
the WASH sector highlighted how self-supply is often driven by users’ desire to
have water for multiple uses (Alberts and vander Zee, 2003; Sutton, 2004), an
argument only made stronger in subsequent self-supply publications (Adank,
2006; Sutton, 2007).
The following assessment of the poverty alleviation performance and trends
towards accountability in the irrigation sub-sector highlights different
targeting practices but also trends similar to those in the WASH sub-sector.
The irrigation and agricultural water management sub-sectors usually fall
under agriculture departments or specialized irrigation agencies. Projects
often work from central levels to farmers; decentralization is still rare and
local government’s roles are small.
The sub-sector aims to provide water for crops, conventionally in public
schemes, for household and national food security, employment generation,
and multiplier effects in forward and backward linkages, including export
(Molden, 2007). Performance is measured in terms of outputs of total irrigated
areas, yields per unit of land and per unit of water, total irrigated production
and its monetary value. The proportion of the designed command area of public
schemes that is actually irrigated can also be monitored. Data about how much
of a country’s total irrigation potential is met are rarer, but the FAOAquastat
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
database does include indicators such as the percentage of irrigable land that
is actually irrigated (FAO, 2013).
However, these neutral terms hide differences among the irrigators. Those
with more land appear to benet disproportionately from irrigation services.
Services tend to reach the not-so-poor and wealthier farmers. Hussain etal.
(2006) showed how poverty alleviation impacts of public irrigation schemes in
Asia are strongest in schemes with smaller plot sizes. Yet, farm size distribution
and even numbers of farmers are rarely monitored. Gender indicators are
missing even more often, and public irrigation support is biased to men, even in
areas where women are important farm decision-makers and land title-holders
(Meinzen-Dick and Zwarteveen, 1998; vanKoppen, 2002).
Unlike the WASH sub-sector, there is no policy in the irrigation sub-sector
that seeks to reach every farmer with public services for irrigation. Only a few
government programmes and NGOs target the poor, for example by allocating
irrigated plots to the land-poor, or by targeting homestead land which the
land-poor can access as well. Some NGOs develop and disseminate affordable
individual technologies such as treadle pumps, rope-and-washer pumps or
low-cost tanks, which are intended either for irrigation or for multiple uses.
Even these efforts only reach a minority. The large majority of poor farmers
are unserved.
This lack of policies to reach poor farmers and the male bias also holds
for other sub-sectors with productive water uses, such as livestock, sheries,
forestry, and small-scale enterprises. There is no ‘public owner’ as yet who takes
responsibility to better meet the productive water needs of poor farmers in
order to achieve the international human right to food, non-discrimination,
and participation, as well as the MDGs and Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition to the sub-sector’s weak performance in reaching the poor,
the productivity of existing public irrigation schemes is sub-optimal. Many
schemes are trapped in build-neglect-rebuild cycles. Despite continued public
investment, command areas can even be shrinking, as reported in India (GoI,
2011; Shah, 2012). Cost recovery in public irrigation schemes, even just for
operation, is often partial at best. Maintenance and rehabilitation require
continued subsidies, otherwise schemes produce even less or collapse.
While there are no clear trends in the irrigation sub-sector to better reach the
unserved, trends to improve the irrigation sub-sector’s performance of existing
irrigation schemes are similar to the WASH sub-sector. Instead of top-down
supply-driven water allocation, irrigation agencies are also moving to the notion
of water services and increasingly seek to provide water of an agreed quantity
and quality at an agreed time to an agreed site (Malano and vanHofwegen,
1999). FAO’s Mapping System and Services for Canal Operation Techniques
approach (MASSCOTE) is an example of this change (Renault, 2010).
A second similar trend is the promotion of users’ participation. Downward
accountability has been an important goal of the transfer of scheme operation
and maintenance to water user associations since the 1990s and various studies
have been conducted on methods to improve accountability (Paul, 1994;
Merrey, 1996; vander Schans and Lempérière, 2006). However, in some cases,
especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, sudden irrigation management transfer and
withdrawal of state support, without considering the range of factors that need
to be in place for self-managed irrigation, affected production and even led to
scheme collapse (Shah etal., 2002). Irrigator communities, civil society and
research organizations have also analysed the role of the irrigation bureaucracy
since the 1980s (Shah, 2009). Improved accountability between irrigation
agency staff and users is proposed as one of the strategies to revitalize irrigation
in Asia (Mukherji etal., 2010). Outright corruption in top-down infrastructure
projects is also being exposed (Venot etal., 2011).
Lastly, both among the served and unserved, researchers from the irrigation
sub-sector have paid attention to self-supply for irrigation and other uses, and
have documented the human, technical, nancial, physical and institutional
capital that these investments represent for the majority of irrigators who farm
outside the public schemes. Communal farmer-managed gravity irrigation
schemes and spate irrigation in mountainous areas have been well documented
across the Andean regions, Nepal, and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
(Yoder, 1994; Boelens etal., 1998; Roth et al., 2005; Sokile, 2005; Boelens
etal., 2007; vanKoppen etal., 2007; Mehari etal., 2007; Bolding etal., 2010;
Komakech, 2013).
More recently, research has highlighted the dynamism of individual
self-supply, especially groundwater irrigation, which took off in a huge way
wherever affordable mechanized lifting devices and affordable energy were
available in Asia (Shah, 2009) and increasingly also in Africa (Pavelic etal.,
2013). Electrication has drastically changed landscapes. Even in irrigation
schemes, many farmers have private pumps, beneting from the groundwater
recharge by canals. In Pakistan, 41per cent of the area of public schemes is
irrigated in this way. In India, over two-thirds of the irrigating farmers irrigated
with private pumps by 2003 (NSSO, 2005, cited in Shah, 2009). In Bangladesh,
this was 70per cent in 2000 (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 2000, cited in
Shah, 2009). In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh together, public schemes
cover 31.2million hectares, whereas private groundwater irrigation covers
signicantly more: 53.6millionha. The millions of small-scale irrigators achieve
higher yields with their private groundwater pumps than their counterparts
taking water from public canals (Shah, 2009).
While pumps in distant elds may mainly be used for irrigation only,
investments in self-supply are normally for multiple uses. The cascading village
tanks in southern India are ancient forms of communal self-supply for domestic,
irrigation, forestry and livestock uses (Palanisami and Meinzen-Dick, 2001;
Palanisami etal., 2011; Venot etal., 2012). Pastoralists have managed their wells
for livestock and human consumption over large distances. Water from rivers
and ash oods is captured and diverted to recharge groundwater, for irrigation
and for other uses (Mehari etal., 2007). Communities build institutional capital
to address competition among these multiple water uses. Local water-sharing
arrangements emerged, for example the rotation schedules of gravity-ow
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
systems over large stretches of a river that crosses many villages (Sokile, 2005;
Komakech and vander Zaag, 2011). In response to the depletion of aquifers in
Gujarat, India, a huge popular movement of groundwater recharge emerged
(Shah, 2007).
In the past, most irrigation policymakers and implementers ignored self-supply
or saw self-supply as inefcient and backward, and in need of improvement.
Local physical, nancial, institutional and technical capital has even been eroded
as a result of interventions (Boelens etal., 1998; vanKoppen, 2002; Roth etal.,
2005; Lankford etal., 2007; Coward, 2008). However, the trend is growing to
provide public support for the promotion of self-supply along the same lines
as in the WASH sub-sector, for example by technology development, private
sector technology supply chain development, nancing facilities, and providing
an enabling policy environment (for example by reducing import duties for
irrigation equipment). More affordable technologies and pump-rental markets
ensure a somewhat better inclusion of the poor in self-supply.
The foregoing review illustrates both sub-sectors’ mixed performance in
gender-equitable poverty alleviation, especially for productive water uses.
The three sorts of steps taken towards more accountability have limitations.
Although there is a shift from top-down construction of infrastructure and
command-and-control water supply (as output) towards water services and
actual uses (as outcome), professionals are only held accountable for the
single use of their sub-sector, and not for the full range of their clients’ water
needs. Further, user participation is only promoted in existing schemes and for
operation and maintenance. People still often have no choice in the design and
planning of infrastructure. Yet, it is very difcult to redress any physical design
limitations from the initial system design through accountability measures at a
later stage. If a water system was designed to provide only a minimal amount of
water, or of limited continuity or frequency of supply, accountability measures
alone cannot provide more water or provide it more often. Moreover, if
participation is primarily promoted to save costs for governments, communities
are burdened with the operation and maintenance obligations of a scheme
selected by others without any post-construction support. Such ‘participation’
is likely to fail.
Professionals’ interest in self-supply remains biased to the sub-sector. Studies
on self-supply and local water management and potential public support
measures focus on the single use of their sub-sector, or they focus on the range
of productive uses, but ignore domestic uses. Only very few studies look into the
human, technical, nancial, physical and institutional capital of aggregate self-
supply. An exception to the latter is the study on co-operation and conict in
local water governance in Latin America, Africa and Asia (Ravnborg etal., 2012).
This project conrmed that people with agriculture-based livelihoods combine
multiple water sources for multiple uses, through multipurpose infrastructure
as the rule, and single uses as the exception, at homestead, hamlet, village or
higher aggregate scales. While it is one step to recognize that, the next step is
to translate that into public services design.
MUS is the water services approach that takes the next steps by shifting
accountability downward to citizens and seeking to meet their multiple water
needs according to their priorities, both in existing schemes and from the
planning stage onwards in new schemes or extensions. MUS supports and
leverages integrated self-supply.
Piloting and scaling up MUS
This section gives a brief history of MUS innovation and the four different
entry points for water services reform for more accountability. Each of
the resulting MUS modalities with their different scaling pathways will be
discussed in later chapters.
Since the 1980s, water professionals in both the WASH and irrigation
sub-sectors have observed that infrastructure which had been designed for
a specic single use was, in practice, also used for other non-planned uses.
Domestic water supplies were used for livestock, homestead gardening, and
small-scale enterprise. Similarly, irrigation schemes were used for many non-
irrigation uses, often including drinking water. These users included both
irrigators and landless, and other poor people who lacked access to irrigated
land and alternative water sources. Initially, managers in both sub-sectors felt
these unplanned uses could damage infrastructure, for example, cattle could
trample canal ditches. They also felt these uses could disrupt the designed water
allocation rules. For example, illegal high volume uses upstream in canals and
pipes would deprive tail-enders. The sector’s usual response vis-à-vis this unruly
behaviour was negative. Such uses should stop.
However, some professionals started recognizing the legitimacy and value
of the livelihood benets of these unplanned uses. Moreover, irrigation
professionals noticed that these non-irrigation uses could be the main benets
of irrigation investment for landless people and women. In the irrigation sub-
sector, calculations were made of the value of domestic water uses, sheries,
livestock watering, and horticulture (see Yoder, 1983; Meinzen-Dick, 1997;
Bakker etal., 1999; Renwick, 2001; van der Hoek etal., 2002; Nguyen-Khoa
etal., 2005, Molle and Renwick, 2005; Boelee etal., 2007; FAO, 2010). Similarly,
productive uses of domestic schemes started and continue to be evaluated
(Moriarty etal., 2004; Pérez de Mendiguren Castresana, 2004; Naidoo et al.,
2009; Noel etal., 2010; vanHouweling etal., 2012).
In order to better realize these benets and to avoid the negative impacts
of unplanned uses, professionals in both sub-sectors started to explore
methodologies for planning to accommodate such needs. By the early 2000s the
name of ‘MUS’ emerged for this new intervention approach. Central to these
methodologies are people’s multiple water needs and their participation in the
planning and provision of water services that meet their needs. The ‘S’ of MUS
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
stands for ‘services’, and so for providing water of agreed quantity and quality
at an agreed time at an agreed site. The service provider is held accountable for
these outcomes, while users are expected to pay for the services, unless (partial)
subsidies are ensured. The piloting started from different entry points in the
water sector, either in the WASH sub-sector or in the irrigation sub-sector. This
was followed in institutional settings without an existing top-down dened
single use either within the water sector or in multi-sectoral LCDD projects
in which communities choose from a broad range of possible interventions.
The synthesis of the early piloting experiences led to a distinction of ‘MUS
modalities’, which became increasingly robust. These MUS modalities were
then scaled up in the sense of sustainably institutionalizing the modality at
larger scales and thereby reaching more citizens with more signicant human
development impacts. The sectoral setting was the primary pathway for
scaling up. Modalities were dened according to the question: ‘who prioritizes
which water use in deciding about investments in infrastructure hardware
and software and water allocation?’ In this way, the following modalities were
distinguished: domestic-plus, irrigation-plus, MUS-by-design and implicit MUS.
In practice, the boundaries are more uid, of course.
The +plus approaches
The modalities that operate within a sub-sector are called a ‘+plus approach’,
a term coined in 2003 by Butterworth (Butterworth etal., 2011). In the +plus
approaches, the public sub-sector agencies prioritize the single use of their
mandates but also promote other uses. These modalities are scaled up by
leveraging both the existing nancing streams and the technical expertise of
the sub-sectors, so by reforming the compact in the long route to accountability.
Thus, in the domestic-plus modality, the public sector sets the priority for
domestic uses, hence supplies are close to homesteads in residential areas;
productive uses are also promoted and tend to be concentrated at and around
homesteads and are often small-scale.
Accordingly, the domestic-plus approach is in essence the promotion
of higher levels of service, or ‘climbing the multiple use water ladder’ (see
Figure 2.2) to allow for backyard gardening, livestock and home-based
industries. In largely unserved areas, as in most of Sub-Saharan Africa,
domestic-plus roughly means doubling or tripling current supplies up to an
intermediate-level MUS of 50–100litres per capita per day (lpcd), of which at
least 3–5lpcd should be safe for drinking and cooking. Add-on devices can be
implemented to allow for other uses such as cattle troughs. Gardens can also
be communal. Strictly speaking, the goal to move to higher service levels can
be pursued without referring to the facilitation of productive uses, even when
the requirement that all water at those higher service levels should be safe for
drinking would be maintained. However, the articulation of productive uses
enables the ne-tuning of water quality needs and mobilizing factors, such as
inputs, skills and markets that render water use more productive.
Figure 2.2 The domestic-plus water ladder
Source: Renwick etal., 2007; vanKoppen etal., 2009
All domestic needs; livestock,
garden, trees, or small enterprise
Most domestic needs;
some livestock, small garden
or tree
Very few domestic
needs, basic livestock
All domestic needs; combination
of livestock, garden, trees and
small enterprise
< 150 m or
< 5 min
> 500 m,
> 15 min
< 500 m or
< 15 min
Service level
Water needs met Distance or
time of
round trip
(litres per
capita per day)
Basic domestic
Basic MUS
Intermediate MUS
High-level MUS
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
By now, an explicit domestic-plus approach has been applied in a number
of programmes. For example, the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program
promoted peri-urban homestead gardening in the 1990s in Kenya. Domestic-
plus has implicitly and explicitly been applied in several countries, including
Colombia, Nepal, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. UNICEF leads a multi-donor MUS
project in Ethiopia (Integrating WASH, Multiple Use Services and Community
Based Nutrition for Improved Food Security and Reproductive and Sexual
In the irrigation-plus modality, professionals set a priority for irrigated
cropping, but also promote non-irrigation uses. This approach has especially
been promoted by FAO. The shift to water services plays an equally strong role
as in the WASH sub-sector in simultaneously taking up more accountability
and encouraging multiple uses. The priority for water for crops is maintained,
but not at the exclusion of other uses. However, non-irrigation uses are often only
a small proportion of the volumes used for irrigation, so irrigation-plus refers,
in practice, to enabling access to water for non-irrigation uses by add-ons such
as cattle entry points, washing steps, small diversions for laundry, bridges, or
roads. In larger scale irrigated areas, specic canals may deliver water year-
round to reservoirs for domestic water or animal water consumption. Moreover,
seepage from surface water streams and reservoirs recharge groundwater
throughout the command areas for multiple uses. People without irrigated
land in the scheme may benet from these other uses. FAO developed an
irrigation-plus methodology for managing reforms of large-scale irrigation
schemes, the Mapping Systems and Services for Multiple Uses Guidelines
(MASSMUS) (Renault, 2010). This methodology has been applied in India,
Vietnam, and China. Several other institutions originating in the irrigation sub-
sector are following the approach. The Comprehensive Assessment on Water
Management in Agriculture highlights the importance of MUS (Molden etal.,
2007). The International Committee of Irrigation and Drainage works on MUS.
Both FAO and the International Network for Water and Ecosystem in Paddy
Fields (INWEPF) also include ecosystem regulatory and supporting services.
However, scaling up both +plus approaches appears to be happening
only slowly. Chapter4 analyses what is well known as a major obstacle to
services reform and central re-alignment of technical and specialized sub-
sectors: upward accountability and the ways technical expertise is currently
institutionalized. This also leads to contradictions and lack of mutual learning
between the sub-sectors, in which especially productive water uses by the poor
risk being ignored. The chapter shows how more horizontal communication
can lead to a considerably more consistent vision on pro-poor and gender
equitable water services.
Piloting of ‘MUS-by-design’ took off after the mid-2000s in eight programmes
or projects. In the MUS-by-design modality, water sector professionals
set the goal of water interventions but without pre-dened priority uses or
technologies. They leave this prioritization of investments and water allocation
to communities through a participatory planning process. Self-supply is fully
acknowledged in this co-production of services.
While these pilot projects came from different angles, they conrmed that,
essentially, planning and providing services for people’s multiple needs boils
down to applying the steps of any participatory planning process to water
development and management. This echoes the emphasis on empowerment of
communities and local authorities in co-production of services through LCDD.
The MUS Group synthesized these participatory planning steps and available
tools into Guidelines for Planning and Providing Multiple-use Water Services (Adank
etal., 2012), summarized in the following six steps:
1. introducing MUS to water users and service providers;
2. situational assessment (existing multiple uses, multipurpose infrastructure
and sources of the local water cycle, especially by the poor and women);
3. visioning and strategic planning (including inclusive, transparent,
informed prioritization of technology and institutional choices leading
to a tentative workplan);
4. tting the nancial framework (transparent budget allocation to
workplan at any level; negotiations of own contributions and local prices;
mobilizing technical expertise);
5. implementation of MUS interventions (including transparent tendering
and payments);
6. support for continuous service provision (post-construction support).
Chapter 5 presents the MUS-by-design projects and the different ways in
which they operationalized such participation, and their current capability
and potential for scaling up through the water sector.
Implicit MUS
In the ‘implicit MUS’ modality, the scaling up partners are the multi-sectoral
LCDD programmes, in which communities decide about their priority
intervention. The participatory planning processes in the co-production of
services may, or may not, lead to opting for a water intervention. If they opt for
water interventions, the institutional space allows them to meet their multiple
water needs according to their priorities, so MUS is implicit. Chapter6 traces
evidence on what is happening in MG-NREGS and other programmes, as far
as the very scarce documentation allows.
Table 2.1 summarizes the MUS modalities and their primary scaling up
partners. These distinctions are analytical typologies. In reality, divisions are
blurred and one modality can change into another. If communities prioritize
water supplies at homesteads in MUS-by-design, it works out as domestic-plus.
Or the +plus approaches may evolve into MUS-by-design, for example if the
WASH sub-sector considers water supplies to wider spaces than homesteads and
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
residential areas. Irrigation-plus becomes MUS-by-design if domestic uses and
homesteads are fully included. In situations where all domestic needs are met,
MUS-by-design can become a productive–productive approach.
This chapter elaborated the crossroads of public services reform and MUS in
order to corroborate our proposition that further synergies hold untapped
opportunities for water interventions’ contribution to gender-equitable
poverty alleviation. Useful conceptualization and insights from global public
services reform include the accountability triangle with its long and short
route to accountability; the stiing nature of technical sectoral approaches;
and the co-production of services, which promotes choice. We highlighted
the need for reform in the WASH and irrigation sub-sectors as both struggle to
deliver sustainable services. Moreover, the water sector’s current performance
in alleviating poverty and gender-equitable human development through
small-scale productive uses is especially weak, and largely ignored by both
sub-sectors. We also showed how both sub-sectors already adopted measures
towards more accountability to overcome these weaknesses: they move
to a services approach, to more participation and client’s voice, and also
increasingly recognize and support self-supply. The sketch of the history of
MUS innovation and scaling up shows how MUS proponents have tried to take
precisely these trends forward to meet people’s multiple needs from the design
phase onwards and across the sub-sectors. Piloting and scaling up of MUS
has happened from within the sub-sectors (as ‘domestic-plus’ and ‘irrigation-
plus’ modalities), increasingly without any pre-dened single water use and
Table 2.1 Overview of MUS modalities
MUS modality Priority setting
Priority use
and site Technologies
Primary scaling
up partners
Domestic-plus WASH sub-sector Domestic, near
and service
levels, often
WASH sub-sector
line agencies,
NGOs, with local
Irrigation-plus Irrigation sub-
productive use,
designated sites
often communal
Agricultural line
agencies, NGOs
in water sector
Users, for water Multiple uses
and related
agencies, local
Implicit MUS
outside water
Users Multiple uses
and related
agencies, local
with some form of participatory planning and co-production of services, as
the ‘MUS-by-design’ modality. LCDD approaches such as MG-NREGS provide
a similar institutional space for community-driven interventions, and seem
‘implicit MUS’. Efforts for scaling up MUS from these different entry points
address different aspects of reform, as elaborated in the later chapters. Before
that, Chapter3 elaborates the core of our proposition: such reform opens up
partly proven and partly plausible opportunities to improve the performance
of water interventions for gender-equitable poverty alleviation and human
The higher human development
performance of MUS
This chapter elaborates the ve strengths of MUS that are proven or plausible
contributions to a higher human development performance: leveraging existing local
capitals of self-supply; own priorities; multiple benets; cost-effective multipurpose
infrastructure; and efcient management of multiple sources.
Keywords: self-supply, ownership, multiple benets, multipurpose
infrastructure, multiple sources
The primary reason to further search for synergies between global public
services reform and MUS in the water sector is the expectation that this can
signicantly improve the performance of water interventions for gender-
equitable poverty alleviation. In the MUS literature, ve reasons can be
identied that corroborate this expectation, either based on evidence or based
on conjecture. These strengths of MUS also underpin the launch of pilot
projects, and efforts made in scaling up and advocacy.
Leveraging existing capitals
As indicated above, self-supply, in which people are their own service provider,
is widespread and represents precious human, physical, technical, nancial
and institutional capital. Foster and Briceño-Garmendia (2010) indicate that
about half of the capital investment in infrastructure used for domestic uses
in Africa actually comes from users – much of it through self-supply. Similarly,
even though a country like India has many large-scale public irrigation
schemes, most irrigation is self-supply. This comes at no cost to the tax payer
and widens people’s choice vis-à-vis public service providers as well, leading to
more power to hold them accountable. By taking existing water management
arrangements as the starting point, MUS not only recognizes this capital and
avoids destroying it (as has occurred in the past), but also leverages this capital.
This comes typically at lower costs than any totally new scheme. Butterworth
etal. (2013) indicate that, based on a rapid assessment of self-supply support
programmes in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda, for every dollar of public
investment US$1.90 was leveraged in terms of household investments.
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
Own priorities
MUS enables people to decide how to allocate public nancial, technical and
institutional support and how to allocate water resources. This entails pro-
actively providing information and support on options, but enabling people
to decide on their priorities. This approach follows people’s own visions
on incremental improvements in water development and management,
whether individually or collectively or both. This is not only at the heart of
empowerment and accountability per se, but also increases the ownership and
willingness to contribute own resources that are necessary conditions for the
sustainability of public services. These performance improvements underpin
global efforts to reform public services.
Own prioritization is particularly relevant for water interventions, not only
because of the multiple domestic and productive uses, but also because of the
strong local diversity in many relevant factors: geo-hydrology, weather and
water availability, appropriate water technologies, and socio-economic and
cultural contexts, and the related multiple opportunities and limitations to
create more health and wealth with water. People oversee the broad range of
their local opportunities and limitations. For example, they may prioritize
rehabilitation over investments in any new infrastructure within given levels of
funding. People consider options in a more holistic manner than professionals
from compartmentalized water and other sub-sectors such as roads, energy,
and markets. Having to handle this complexity would render specialists quite
nervous. For people whose survival has depended on managing this complexity
since time immemorial, it is their way of life (Mehta etal., 2001; Chambers,
2010; Rautanen et al., 2014). Thus, informed but own priorities are the
bottom-up pull for integrated and demand-driven co-production of services
by communities and service providers.
Multiple benets
Unlike the single-use approaches, MUS seeks to achieve multiple uses and
related human development impacts, including health, food, income, and
reduced drudgery. The sum of these human development impacts is more
than just the sum of each use and related livelihood benets. Well-being is
multifaceted. Better health boosts productivity. Income allows new investments
in production and payment for domestic water and social services. Girls’ time
for school attendance better prepares them for the future and delays their
marriage and child-bearing age, thereby reducing fertility rates. Similarly,
vulnerability in just one dimension can mean falling back to extreme poverty.
If women spend long hours fetching water for domestic uses, their productive
activities, family care and rest suffer. As Renault (2010) coined it: MUS brings
about ‘most MDG per drop’.
Cost-effective multipurpose infrastructure
Multipurpose infrastructure is the most cost-effective way of providing water
in almost all cases. As infrastructure is often the highest cost in water services,
this feature of MUS is highly relevant. The cost-effectiveness of multipurpose
infrastructure is reected in urban water supplies, in which it is cheaper to
have one distribution network with high drinking-water quality than having
two distribution networks, one with high-quality water for drinking, and
one with lower quality for other uses. Similarly, large-scale dams are typically
planned for multiple water uses. The same has been proven in the WASH and
irrigation sub-sectors.
One way of calculating this cost-effectiveness is in cases in which the non-
planned uses neither cause signicant damage nor disturb water allocation.
Returns considerably increase simply by also counting the non-planned
benets, as was done, for example, by FAO (2010) in Figure 3.1. Calculating
all returns is a stronger justication to make the investments and a broader
basis for revenue collection.
Figure 3.1 Share of benets from various use of water in irrigation systems
Source: FAO, 2010
Kim Dong,
Luong Tai,
Karnataka , India
Drainage , flood control,
transport, envir onment
Homestead garden and
natural ve getation
Domestic and industry
(inc. tourism)
Sri Lanka
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
Another way of calculating cost-effectiveness of MUS is by calculating the
incremental costs of converting single-use designs into multiple-use designs,
and the incremental benets that this provides. Single-use designs for domestic
uses require, for example, larger pipes to bring more water to homesteads or the
addition of cattle troughs. In irrigation schemes, additional cattle entry points,
washing steps or provisions for year-round domestic supplies may be needed.
The question is then whether such incremental costs generate sufciently high
incremental benets to justify the additions for multiple uses. Various nancial
studies on this question have been done, especially for domestic-plus, and
all found a very high benet–cost ratio (Renwick etal., 2007; Adank etal.,
2008; Hall, 2012). For example, increasing service levels for water supplies to
homesteads from 20lpcd to about 50–100lpcd can be repaid from the extra
income generated within six months to three years. Once basic domestic needs
are met (approximately 20lpcd), each additional lpcd generates an estimated
US$0.50–1.00 per year of income (Renwick etal., 2007). Based on research in
Senegal and Kenya, Hall (2012) calculated that users could repay capital costs
of upgrading to intermediate-level MUS within one year for surface gravity-fed
systems and around two years for groundwater pumped systems.
Cost-effectiveness is even higher because multipurpose infrastructure avoids
the damage that can otherwise arise from unplanned uses. It also addresses
trade-offs and potential conicts from the design stage onwards, because
users are no longer taken by surprise when conicts arise. This contributes to
However, standardization becomes more difcult, certainly for the more
diverse productive water uses. Adaptation to local conditions through
participatory planning processes is warranted, which adds to the costs, at least
in the short term. However, as infrastructure is generally the highest cost,
overall impacts are likely to still be positive.
The authors are aware of only a few exceptions to the rule that multipurpose
infrastructure is most cost-effective. For example, when there are small
quantities of high-quality water, communities may reserve those sources for
drinking and cooking only. The sites of use also determine the uses, especially
for point sources. Groundwater pumping in distant elds is usually only
for irrigation. Also, if homesteads are too far from communal water points,
labour requirements to carry water reduce or inhibit productive uses of
that source.
Efcient management of multiple sources
MUS builds on people’s self-supply, in which people design infrastructure to
use and re-use water from multiple sources: rainfall, soil moisture, run-off,
surface streams and reservoirs, wetlands, and groundwater. They tap into the
natural and human-made local water cycle for more efcient use and re-use
of multiple sources (de Lange and Penning de Vries, 2003). This starts at
homestead level where households can combine up to nine different sources,
as found in north-east Thailand (Penning de Vries and Ruaysoongnern, 2010).
In and around command areas, people benet from unlined irrigation canals
that bring seepage water to their private household wells and groundwater
irrigation pumps. Local people have considerable insight into their aquatic
ecosystems and their links with other natural resources, contributing to, for
example, ood protection, bio-waste breakdown, or storage of rainfall in
groundwater and natural ponds. Quantity and quality of sources are adjusted
to the uses. For example, protected household wells or rainwater tanks
ensure safe water for drinking and cooking, while less clean water is used for
purposes that do not require such high standards. This local knowledge and
practice about ecosystems is an important contribution to public services
(see Box 3.1).
Considering multiple sources opens up more and cheaper options that are
environmentally more efcient than single-use services, which tend to focus
on one source. Combining multiple water sources is also at the heart of people’s
coping strategies and resilience in the dry season and under extreme events.
Considering the entire local water cycle opens up the potential to link water
development and conservation when water resources become scarce. Local
initiatives drove widespread groundwater recharge through wells, weirs and
village tanks well before water conservation professionals started addressing
these issues (Shah, 2007). These experiences corroborate the hypothesis that
people for whom the sustainable availability of a resource is central to their
survival are more committed than anyone else to manage and conserve their
water sources as well as possible. Livelihood-enhancing measures are the main
incentive for conservation.
Box 3.1 The overlap between public services and ecosystem services
The ‘services’ of ‘public services’ discussed in this book are profoundly different from the
‘services’ in ‘ecosystem services’, as dened, for example, by the Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment (2005). However, they overlap in one important aspect. Public services are a
necessary condition to realize ecosystem services. MUS is the most effective way to realize
any aquatic ecosystem service.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment distinguishes four categories of ecosystem
services: 1)regulation and 2)support services, which refer to the complex biophysical and
chemical interactions between land, water and other natural resources; and 3)provisioning
and 4)cultural services, which refer to the range of people’s potential or factual domestic
and productive uses of the natural resources and the related values of such uses in
terms of, ultimately, human development. Many studies, including those by FAO and the
International Network for Water and Ecosystem in Paddy Fields, have mapped and valued
such actual and potential uses. MUS and water ecosystem services both focus on the full
range of water uses and values for human development. MUS ensures that people’s desired
uses are sustainably realized, or that negative impacts (which could be called ‘ecosystem
dis-services’) are prevented, through water infrastructure. In planning infrastructure, MUS
taps people’s own knowledge about water resources, such as their strategy to smartly
combine multiple water sources. Accompanying measures (for example, hygiene education,
markets) enhance the health and wealth benets of the natural resource base.
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
MUS proponents have sought to empower communities, including beyond their
sub-sectors. This has led to the discovery of ve partially proven and partially
plausible contributions to higher human development performance that, at
best, had been only partially and unintentionally realized in the conventional
sectoral water approaches. They reect the unique nature of water resources
and their development and management. These strengths are: 1)recognizing
and leveraging self-supply, and 2)building upon communities’ priorities and
appropriate choices in complex situations, following communities’ ways of
managing water, 3)for multiple uses and benets, through 4) cost-effective
multipurpose infrastructure as the rule and single use as the exception, while
5)promoting the use and re-use of multiple sources in the local water cycle.
Achieving this higher performance requires drastic changes in the water
sub-sectors from the central level downwards (as primarily pioneered in the
+plus approaches) and to ensure participatory planning and co-production
of services at local level (as pioneered primarily in the MUS-by-design and
implicit MUS modalities). The next chapters present these lessons learnt and
recommendations for further scaling up and action research.
Scaling up the +plus approaches
This chapter presents the lessons learnt from efforts to scale up the +plus approaches
from within their sub-sectors. The experiences are similar with regard to the same
specialist hierarchical structure of sub-sectors, in which local service provision ofcers
are accountable upward instead of downward to their clients. Jobs, fund allocation
and the mobilization of technical expertise are determined at the central levels. The
single water uses that are needed to create health or wealth, and the expertise needed
to create those, dominate. The rst section unravels how the +plus approaches seek
to move to water services through functioning infrastructure, for multiple uses as
human development outcomes. The second section discusses the contradictions of
priorities for fund and water allocation between professionals of the two sub-sectors
as a result of their single-use mindsets. We propose a horizontal conversation towards
a common view on pro-poor and gender-equitable water services, which includes
more attention to basic productive water uses for the large majority of smallholders
outside public irrigation schemes.
Keywords: domestic-plus, irrigation-plus, mandates, silos, expertise, water
services, human development outcomes, horizontal co-ordination, Nepal,
South Africa, Tanzania
Widening the mandate of one’s job
The most recurrent argument against scaling up of MUS and providing water
for other uses than the single use of the sub-sector is that it is not seen as one’s
job. In the MASSMUS methodology, Renault (2010) gives a detailed description
of this obstacle and also of the subsequent steps of sectoral professionals in
adopting irrigation-plus. A similar process is found in the WASH sub-sector
(Smits etal., 2010).
As Renault (2010) describes, the invariable wake-up call is the almost
universal observation that infrastructure that was designed for a single use
is, in reality, also used for non-planned uses. Commonly, the rst reaction of
professionals is to ignore or deny non-planned uses, or even try to prevent
such ‘illegal’ uses, usually in vain. The next step is that professionals accept
unplanned uses as a reality, but turn a blind eye, and say, ‘not my job’. Then
professionals start realizing how these non-planned uses generate livelihood
benets and returns on investments. This leads local-level staff to accommodate
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
such uses on a case by case basis at their own discretion. The nal step, which
is to be taken at managerial levels, is planning and managing for the priority
use of their sub-sector but also other uses: domestic-plus or irrigation-plus.
Or managers may decide to leave any prioritization to communities in MUS-
The MUS Scoping Studies conrmed professionals’ focus on only one water use
as ‘their job’ and any other use as ‘not their job’. A high-level Tanzanian irrigation
policymaker realized how his engineers were ‘livelihood engineers’, but they
should only accommodate such other uses ‘on the way’. It should not affect their
‘real’ job (vanKoppen and Keraita, 2012). In Nepal, an irrigation project manager
put it clearly: ‘The implementation of this irrigation programme is already so
complicated we cannot complicate it even more’ (Basnet and vanKoppen, 2011).
Thus, MUS is seen as something that competes in time and resources with their
mandated work. How, then, is ‘the job’ dened in sub-sectors? What is this
sense of competition and how can it be overcome? In the following section we
develop a hypothesis of some of the contributing factors.
Dening job mandates at central levels
In our interviews, policymakers and even ministers, as well as most senior civil
servants, in sub-sectoral line ministries often immediately appreciate MUS and
the plausibility of its better human development outcomes. They also know
communities’ water management practices of meeting multiple water needs
from multiple sources through multipurpose infrastructure, and they are
aware of the unplanned uses in single-use designed schemes. Aware of their
accountability to citizens (in the rst leg of the long route to accountability),
they are willing to provide integrated support. If such support goes straight
from their highest levels to communities, this can be tailor-made. In Thailand,
for example, high-level politicians directly supported the Farmer Wisdom
Network in its campaigns to promote homestead-based livelihoods derived
from multiple sources for multiple uses (vanKoppen etal., 2009). However,
for scaling up support to reach many more citizens, high-level policymakers
need service provision organizations (in the second leg of the long route to
Professionals’ jobs are dened in this compact between policymakers and
the managers of service provision organizations. In setting up sub-sectors and
allocating public resources for technical services, like water services, at these
central levels, expertise plays an important role. Two types of expertise are
needed. The rst is hydrological and engineering expertise for infrastructure
and water resources management and allocation, which can be assigned to
rural engineering, public works or water departments. The second is expertise
to make benecial use of water in the elds of public health, sanitation and
hygiene, agronomy, nancing, or marketing. Measures to create more health
and wealth accompany water investments. Water is only one of the inputs
for health and wealth. This expertise for accompanying measures often
scaling up the +plus approaches
plays a stronger role in designing governments’ administrative organograms.
For example, in Tanzania, a group of irrigation engineers moved from the
Department of Agriculture to a new integrated Ministry of Water and Irrigation
in 2008. However, the Department of Agriculture felt ‘like an orphan’, so in
2010 the irrigation engineers moved back to the then Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Cooperatives (vanKoppen and Keraita, 2012). Foreign aid pooling
of resources into national government budgets through basket funding tends
to follow the silos. In Tanzania, one basket was for WASH, one for agriculture
(with irrigation) and one for integrated water resources management. While
such baskets reduce transactions costs and can lead to better targeting of
investments in service delivery to the poor (deKemp etal., 2011), they solidify
the division in sub-sectors, even if a sub-sector is ‘integrated’ water management
(vanKoppen and Keraita, 2012).
This fragmentation of the water sector according to different single uses
is reinforced by public vocational training and science and technology
education institutions as a chicken-and-egg issue. Professionals have their
own international journals and networks and promotion opportunities. Their
professional ethos means they avoid stepping on each other’s toes.
Further, policymakers and foreign aid organizations need to show human
development impacts of water development in their accountability to voters
and aid supporters. Appealing ‘humanized’ stories are important. Messages
need to be simple in spite of the many factors that determine long-term human
development impacts. Conventionally, human development impact messages
also tend to be guided by specialized expertise to show how one water use leads
to one dimension of well-being and via one clear pathway. Clean drinking water
for health or smiling women farmers producing and selling shiny tomatoes are
messages that are easy to convey.
Paradoxically, the valid concerns to ensure expertise and to achieve human
development imply, in practice, that goals and performance indicators for the
sub-sectors immediately jump to outcomes and ultimate human development
impacts, but only for the outcomes and impacts that are facilitated by the experts
employed in the sub-sector, and by water used for that purpose. Professionals
in the WASH sub-sector promote health for all by reducing waterborne diseases
through safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation. They ignore health gains
from other water-related pathways, such as improved nutrition, food or income.
In contrast, the human development impacts that the irrigation engineers,
agronomists and economists promote are food security and income, but only
through cropping. Thus, legitimate and much-needed inputs by experts become
counter-productive, and compound the power that the high-level managers of
expert sub-sectors tend to exert in the competition for scarce public nancial
resources at central levels.
Lankford (2013) notes how specialists tend to argue with each other:
Claiming to be interdisciplinary and good at running participatory
workshops, when asked for solutions to address low-yielding resources,
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
people with well-developed career specialisms usually fall back on their
training and ‘ofce’. For example, ‘price water’ says the economist; ‘breed
higher yielding crops’ says the biologist; ‘line irrigation canals’ intones the
engineer; ‘introduce new water laws’ proposes the lawyer; ‘form user groups’
argues the social scientist, and ‘partner with drip irrigation companies’
suggests the policymaker interested in public–private partnerships.
Lankford proposes ‘watereers’ as ‘professionals who would see the solution by
looking at the resource via the eyes of a certain kind of resource user, and often
those users who are least likely to represent themselves loudly at a resource
Moving down the silos
Moving down the silos, the job mandates of lower level staff in recruitment
and job descriptions, reporting requirements, reward systems, and promotion
prospects reinforce the divides. Local staff members are held accountable
for the single uses of their expertise-based sub-sectors, while others remain
accountable for other uses according to their job mandates.
Efforts to strengthen accountability through expertise for human develop-
ment become a paradox on the ground in several ways. As mentioned, human
development impacts are claimed but rarely measured, among other reasons
because of the complexity of measurement and attributing effects to causes.
Performance indicators are generally based on inputs (funding, stafng) in
relation to outputs (such as coverage of people reached and harvest per unit
of land) and compliance with processes and procedures (World Bank, 2004).
However, in the water sub-sectors, even those inputs are rarely measured,
although they are receiving more attention nowadays, at least in the WASH
sub-sector. A relatively straightforward output indicator is the infrastructure
constructed. So for the sake of accountability, quite detailed technical
designs, unit costs, and bills of quantities are required in budget approval
and tendering. Spending and construction are monitored (e.g. number of
pumps, kilometres of pipes or canals) within given time frames and for a
given budget. Thus, local service provision ofcers are held accountable and
get paid and promoted by their superiors for implementing pre-set, already
budgeted infrastructure outputs, as a take-it-or-leave it service, and only for the
water use of his or her silo. They are discouraged from looking for any of the
other water needs of their clients, for which they assume professionals in
other silos are mandated. They focus on ‘their’ well-being dimension to the
exclusion of other ways to meet that need and any other water needs of the
same clients.
This implies limited co-production of services, as communities are not
given a meaningful role, neither in the rst development of the system nor
in the ongoing service provision. Offering a choice to communities through a
participatory planning process before construction or rehabilitation is tricky. It
scaling up the +plus approaches
would not only delay tight implementation schedules but also risk identifying
new needs and solutions that cannot be met within the available budgets
already earmarked and monitored for single-use infrastructure. Pressure to
spend money according to the top-down dened activities and timetables
is strong. Returning unspent funds is seen as a sign of weak planning and
Local ofcers therefore have an incentive to carefully select communities
and champions that are most likely to meet the performance indicators of their
superiors. These are typically those who are most accessible and those with
proven performance records, often the mostly male village elite. Local ofcers’
upward accountability becomes an incentive for giving more to those who
already have. This was the case in Tanzania. In allocating funding for new water
supplies, district ofcials selected villages with a proven track record of sound
nancial management, which reinforced exclusion. This compounded the well-
known phenomenon that the more dynamic and vocal ward councillors with
more political and administrative connections nd funds more easily. The
haves get more (TAWASANET, 2009; Taylor, 2011).
The +plus approaches: services for human development outcomes
The domestic-plus and irrigation-plus approaches resolve various problems
of these accountability paradoxes. They move towards a more meaningful
output indicator: to water services, as a reection of the sustainable functioning
of the infrastructure to provide clients with water, and explicitly focus on
providing water for additional uses, beyond the sub-sector’s priority ones, and
as prioritized by their clients. As sustainable water uses lead to sustainable
livelihood benets, water uses are essentially human development outcomes.
The +plus approaches seek to promote these outcomes as their mandates
in the performance agreements in the compact between policymakers and
authorities and service provider organizations at central level, and in the
communication messages to their respective constituencies. Broader human
development outcomes are also rewarded in local and intermediate-level
staff’s performance evaluations. As mentioned, in quite a few cases local staff
already started turning a blind eye on existing unplanned uses, or applying
discretionary powers, for example in creative combinations of different
funding streams (Mikhail and Yoder, 2008). The +plus approaches formalize
and reward their local staff’s human development outcomes.
To achieve human development impacts of health and wealth, expertise and
accompanying measures remain vital. The challenge is to mobilize such health
specialists or agronomists to provide such support according to demand in the
co-production of services, instead of tying such expertise to one well-resourced
project while most people remain without any support at all. In Tanzania, for
example, most specialists report to both the District Executive Director and to
their superiors in their line agencies. The District Executive Director can allocate
staff as needed. Training and backstopping of cheaper, ‘barefoot’ technicians or
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
health workers are important aspects of demand-driven and widely available
The hydrology and engineering experts in the +plus approaches focus on
developing appropriate technologies for multiple uses. In our experience,
engineers may well welcome broader uses of their designs when this boosts
adoption and functioning. The basic design principles that are taught in their
professional education hold. Standing in for each other is already practised.
For example, in the Mvomero District, Tanzania, we found that the district-
level water supply and irrigation engineers take responsibility for any water
infrastructure, depending on their availability (vanKoppen and Keraita, 2012).
The application of scarce engineering expertise is more cost-effective if it serves
any water technology, instead of being conned to one sub-sector only. Solving
the accountability paradox opens up more opportunities.
Horizontal co-ordination
In the past, local staff of service provider organizations were accountable
upward. This gave hardly any incentive for horizontal co-ordination with
colleagues in other sub-sectors, even if they were based in the same district
ofces. Their senior managers were perhaps even less motivated to engage
in horizontal co-ordination, because these other sub-sectors were primarily
competing for the same central funding streams of treasury and donors. The
envisioned changes in performance indicators, accountability processes and
one’s job mandates also open up new possibilities, and even a need for more
horizontal co-ordination for people who are ‘water sector competent’ in the
technical specicities of water. We realized that during our interviews it was
remarkable how discussions in the WASH sub-sector on the pros and cons
of scaling up domestic-plus revealed objections that contradicted objections
raised in discussions in the irrigation sub-sector on scaling up irrigation-
plus. This not only suggests that the sub-sectors rarely communicate and
learn from each other. It also shows how the compartmentalization into sub-
sectors entails important, but hidden, decisions on the allocation of public
funds and water resources in which professionals seem to compete, rather
than collaborate. Because of the past lack of horizontal communication, these
contradictions never came out. They can never be resolved within the silo
set-up of the sector.
In this section, we list the topics of these objections, and the arguments
heard in the WASH and irrigation sub-sectors respectively. The empirical
evidence is still thin: we heard some arguments in a couple of interviews only.
Nevertheless, the contradictions on each topic offer a basis to explore how
these contradictions could be overcome ‘beyond the silos’. Our proposals for
consensus are meant to start a conversation in the water sector. In particular,
they call for more attention to gender issues and the current lack of a public
owner to support basic productive water uses, a eld hitherto ignored, although
scaling up the +plus approaches
the Sustainable Development Goals and international human rights frame-
works implicitly expect the water sector to play a key role in this respect.
Infrastructure fund allocation: a universal priority for basic domestic uses
The WASH sub-sector priority for public fund allocation to infrastructure for
everyone’s access to safe water near the homestead and sanitation is widely
endorsed and aligns with many national goals, as well as the MDGs and human
rights frameworks. Most statutory water laws also stipulate a rst priority to
water allocation for domestic uses. Even though reduction of drudgery for
women and girls is only a secondary goal, the mandate of improved domestic
water services aligns with the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women of 1979, provided the service is affordable.
However, the irrigation sub-sector essentially ignores these national and
international public priorities and laws. If children and women have to draw
water from canals for lack of any alternatives, they can even forbid it.
Beyond silos, all water professionals would address basic domestic water
needs. Technical opportunities for synergies would be exploited, for example,
through adjacent wells that use seepage water from canals and reservoirs, or
piped diversions at the head where water is cleaner. Respecting this national
and international priority for basic domestic water supplies would be part of
the gender component of any irrigation service: the reduced drudgery also frees
up women’s time that they can use for productive activities.
Water safety and health impacts:
a universal priority for safe water for drinking
A common objection to domestic-plus by WASH professionals is that promot-
ing drinking water for cattle and productive uses is ‘wasting expensively
treated water’. Clients’ water needs other than the WASH mandate are labelled
as a ‘waste’, even if users would pay higher tariffs for the additional use of
water, in the case of volumetric payments.
However, this argument misses the point that having parallel systems for
high-quality water for drinking and lower quality water for other uses would
often be even more expensive. It is for exactly that reason that hardly anybody
considers it a waste to use up to 100lpcd of water of drinking quality for
laundry, cleaning or ushing toilets in urban areas – simply because running
parallel systems would be even more expensive. Being held accountable for safe
drinking water, the WASH sub-sector keeps placing extraordinary emphasis on
the highest water quality of all water provided, even though only part of that
water needs to meet these quality standards.
On the other hand, an irrigation professional in Nepal explained how
he genuinely felt accountable when he had to forbid people to drink water
from irrigation canals: ‘If people drink this water and fall sick, I can be held
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
accountable’. Upward accountability leaves little incentive to recognize the
problem and promote practical incremental improvements in clients’ lives.
Beyond silos, it would be any water professional’s job to contribute to
improving the quality of water used for drinking, besides considering the need
for reliable access to sufcient water quantities for hygiene and other domestic
uses. Various practical ways exist to provide safe water for all:
• Accept that all water that is provided is safe, even if not all uses require
that, just as is done in urban areas in Europe, for example.
• Provide parallel systems of high-quality and lower quality water for
different uses.
• Promote point-of-use treatment. Within the WASH sub-sector much work
is done to test and promote point-of-use treatment for the 3–5lpcd that
are needed for drinking and cooking (UNICEF/WHO, 2011). There is also
scope for the unserved to apply point-of-use treatment, in case they have
water sources close by that are of treatable quality. The urban middle-class
in low- and middle-income countries solves the low-quality problem of
piped supplies in the same way. However, education for sustainable uptake
and hygienic uses is often still missing in poor areas.
• Promote other measures, such as spring protection, better hygiene
practices around lifting and storing water, covering wells and other
open storage facilities, recharging groundwater for well development, or
tapping into more upstream water sources that are less polluted.
All of these options come at an incremental cost, though, an issue which will
be addressed later in this chapter. In the same way pollution – for example
from fertilizers and herbicides – would be everyone’s concern.
Infrastructure fund allocation:
a universal priority for basic productive water uses
WASH professionals target, in principle, everybody. In the debates on the post-
2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the option is raised to ensure that the
rate of increase in access should be higher for poor families than for the non-
poor. The thinking is that those with some level of access will need to continue
receiving some subsidies to keep services running, particularly for capital
maintenance, but this cannot be at the expense of increasing coverage to the
unserved. The Joint Monitoring Programme has started making data available
on levels of access of different wealth groups, highlighting the need to invest
more for these groups. Given this goal, it is understandable that some WASH
professionals objected to the adoption of domestic-plus approaches because
they feared that domestic-plus would delay service delivery to the unserved,
who do not even have access to water for basic domestic uses. Inequalities
would widen.
It is true that domestic-plus services often require incremental initial
investments which come on top of the already high costs of reaching the
scaling up the +plus approaches
unserved in remote areas. Moreover, there will be incremental operational
costs. Even in countries like France, the last households started to receive access
to improved water supplies in the 1990s only, at huge per capita costs. In the
meantime, service levels of citizens in urban areas gradually improved as well
(Pezon, 1999).
The issue is that this argument ignores the legitimate productive water needs
of the unserved. It also ignores the fact that it is often cheaper to provide
multiple-use services from the outset, instead of rst providing a basic level of
service and climbing the ladder a few years later.
The irrigation sub-sector has no ambition to reach everybody with water
services for productive uses and tends to be biased to male farmers with land,
as mentioned above.
Beyond silos, all water professionals put poor people with multiple basic
water needs centre stage. All water professionals would explore public services
to meet basic irrigation needs (and basic water needs for livestock, forestry,
sheries, and other productive activities), in addition to basic domestic needs.
The aim could also be to expand coverage in multiple basic water services of
the poorest at a higher growth rate than those who have already been reached,
or are able to invest in self-supply.
In many situations, the domestic-plus modality will be an appropriate
way to operationalize this goal (Nielsen etal., 2006; Mikhail and Yoder, 2008;
Basnet and vanKoppen, 2011; Hall etal., 2013). Homestead-based productive
water uses are particularly pro-poor and gender equitable. For the landless, the
elderly and the ill, the homestead is often the only site where they can use
water productively. Women’s say over production at homesteads tends to be
somewhat stronger than in elds, although this varies. However, especially in
poor remote areas, there may be more cost-effective incremental improvements
in local water development and management than universal domestic-plus.
Inclusive participatory planning processes would reveal such options.
Cost recovery: potential payment for more uses
The most common argument for WASH professionals in favour of domestic-
plus is that productive uses allow for income generation. This in turn
enhances the ability to pay for services. Financial analyses have conrmed
this potential, even for cross-subsidizing domestic uses with the incomes from
productive uses (Renwick etal., 2007). Some evidence is emerging that there
is a relationship between nancial sustainability and the extent of domestic-
plus (Hall, 2012). However, causes and effects remain unclear. Either people
pay for services and ensure that systems perform well, which provides a secure
environment for users to engage in productive activities. Or people started
producing and generating more income to pay more for services. Or both
processes take place and reinforce each other.
At the same time, the WASH sub-sector cautions that the emphasis on
payment for services to recover part of the costs may lead to exclusion of the
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
poorest. The less-poor have more funds to pay for services, and have other
assets, so they tend to be more able and willing to pay, while payment for
services remains unaffordable for the poor. Smart subsidy mechanisms should
target those who are most excluded, but there is little experience as yet on
how to do this.
Irrigation professionals also favour irrigation-plus because the resulting
broader livelihood benets give water users more incentives to pay for
additional productive uses and domestic uses (Renault, 2010). However,
despite the optimistic assumption of WASH professionals that the ability to
pay increases cost recovery, the realities in public irrigation schemes provide
little evidence that this is the case. Cost recovery is equally weak in both sub-
sectors, so it remains to be seen how multiple use services can improve cost
recovery. In both, the norm is that government pays the bulk of capital costs
for infrastructure construction, and in practice for rehabilitation too. Irrigation
departments sometimes even subsidize operation and maintenance. Or nobody
pays in either sub-sector with scheme failure as a result. Politicians in both the
WASH and irrigation sub-sectors risk their careers if they deviate from such
subsidies (in the rst leg of the long route to accountability).
Beyond silos, professionals would recognize that providing multiple use
services per se widens the basis and stakes for payment and increases the ability
and possibly the willingness to pay. However, more is needed to realize better
cost recovery. Water professionals would jointly deepen analysis to develop cost
recovery arrangements for water services. They would also ensure nancing and
subsidy arrangements to meet poor people’s basic domestic and productive uses.
Moreover, water professionals would also examine the broader features of MUS
that are relevant for subsidy, nancing, and cost recovery, such as the leveraging
of existing capital; the ownership of public services if they address people’s
priorities for appropriate solutions; and the cost-effectiveness of multipurpose
infrastructure and combinations of multiple sources. Moreover, cross-sectoral
horizontal dialogue would identify and remove costly overlaps and promote
convergence of public funding streams, while mobilizing different areas of
expertise in a cost-effective manner.
Water allocation within schemes:
universal priority for multiple basic water uses
Horizontal co-ordination would address not only fund allocation for
infrastructure and water services, but also the allocation of water resources
both within schemes (as discussed in this section) and at larger scales (in
the following section). This would overcome the last set of contradictory
objections to scaling up MUS that we found in the MUS Scoping studies.
Some WASH sub-sector professionals object to domestic-plus approaches
because they fear that allowing for domestic-plus within their schemes ‘will
steal water designated for domestic uses away for productive uses’. Moreover,
those with more land and other assets would use more water, which would
scaling up the +plus approaches
further widen inequalities. The concerns to protect basic domestic uses and
narrow inequalities are valid, certainly from the perspective of poor women.
However, this argument ignores the fact that there are already productive uses
in schemes designed for domestic uses. The fact that certain infrastructure
is constructed with money from a WASH sub-sector’s budget hardly affects
villagers when they decide how they want to use the water. Even efforts to
‘hardwire’ certain priorities in the technical design are only partially effective,
as was found in Nepal (see Box 4.1). Negotiations about water allocations are
shaped by people’s stakes and their complex, hierarchical relationships, often
at the expense of the poor and women. Negotiations are also more inuenced
by the sites of water availability and upstream–downstream locations than by
the technology in itself.
Box 4.1 Does the hardwiring of a priority for domestic uses work?
Winrock International and iDE in Nepal tried to hardwire a priority for domestic uses
into their multipurpose piped gravity schemes by changing the common one-reservoir-one-
distribution network into two separate reservoirs, each with its own distribution network.
The engineers designated one reservoir and distribution network for domestic uses, while
only the overow of the domestic reservoir was channelled to another reservoir connected
to a distribution network intended for irrigation. This works when homesteads and irrigated
elds are located far from each other. However, when domestic water uses and productive
uses take place around homesteads, people’s multiple needs appeared to inuence actual
water use more strongly than the engineers’ instructions that a specic off-take is designed
for one specic use only (Mikhail and Yoder, 2008). In Bagargaun village, the Nepal
MUS Scoping Study found that after the construction was nished, villagers retrotted
the design to the earlier model of one-reservoir-one-distribution-line. Instead of two taps
around the homestead from two distribution networks linked to two nearby reservoirs, one
bigger line has the same effect and is cheaper overall. The engineers realized that the
best option was putting the issue of prioritizing water uses back into the hands of the
community (Basnet and vanKoppen, 2011).
In the irrigation sub-sector, we found a similar assumption that water conveyed
by infrastructure that was funded by the irrigation sub-sector is, therefore,
meant for irrigation. In the same piped gravity ow schemes in Nepal, it took
long deliberations among irrigation ofcers before a pipe that was funded
from an irrigation budget could be inserted in a multipurpose scheme that
carried water which was also to be used for domestic uses (Mikhail and
Yoder, 2008).
Nevertheless, irrigation professionals are not as worried as the WASH
sub-sector about ‘stealing’ water for non-irrigation uses. In most cases, non-
irrigation uses are all relatively small, if not negligible, compared to the water
needs for crops. The irrigation sub-sector’s concerns are about damage to
infrastructure by unplanned uses. Possible competition with domestic water
needs only arise, for example, when soap from laundry enters the canals, or
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
when larger schemes that also supply water year-round for domestic uses and
animal watering are interrupted for canal maintenance. At still larger scales,
the increasing water needs of adjacent towns and cities can be the reason to
adopt irrigation-plus approaches.
Beyond silos, water service providers would recognize water allocation as
hardwired in the broader technology choice and its siting or layout, and as
a continuous negotiation process between people thereafter. A priority for
basic domestic uses would be supported by ensuring poor women’s effective
participation from the planning and design phases onwards. A priority for
small-scale productive uses would require the strong voice of women and other
marginalized groups in early planning and design. During the use phase, water
professionals would facilitate the inevitable continued negotiations over water
distribution, for example by enabling the setting of rules for such prioritization
and their enforcement.
Quantication of the allocation issues shows that poor people’s water uses
are bound to remain small-scale because of the small size of homesteads and
other land they may have, and the small scale of their enterprises. Even if many
poor people would meet all conditions for the highest uptake of water (optimal
skills, other inputs, rewarding markets), the total volumes of water used would
often remain less than the luxury domestic uses of the non-poor, and certainly
signicantly less than irrigation uses of medium- and large-scale farmers. The
real inequalities are among irrigators, so within the irrigation sub-sector rather
than between the WASH and irrigation sub-sectors. The same principles hold
at higher aggregate levels.
Water allocation at higher aggregate levels:
a similar universal priority for multiple basic water uses
Moving up to higher aggregate levels, WASH professionals expressed a concern
that universal domestic-plus may over-stretch available water resources. In
the irrigation sub-sector no such concern was voiced. There is no issue in
areas with economic water scarcity, that is where water resources are available,
but infrastructure to use that water is lacking, as in most of Sub-Saharan
Africa. The average total abstractions of renewable resources in Sub-Saharan
Africa are estimated at 6 per cent (Bahri et al., 2010). Water resources are
abundant but the means to develop them are limited, especially for the poor.
This is also reected in FAO Aquastat (2013) estimates of the signicant
gaps between actually irrigated land and the potential area that can be
developed for irrigation given available land and water resources. Ethiopians
irrigate an estimated 290,000 hectares out of the estimated potential of
2.7 million ha (FAO Aquastat, 2013). In Tanzania, out of 29.4million ha
of land suitable for irrigation, only 289,245ha (1per cent) was under formal
irrigation by 2009/2010 (URT, 2009). Even in areas that are water scarce,
irrigation policies keep expanding irrigated areas with no apparent concern
about competing with the much smaller-scale domestic and domestic-plus
scaling up the +plus approaches
volumes of water. For example, the Nepali government seeks to add over
400,000 ha to cover 80 per cent of its total area that is irrigable land by
conventional means. Moreover, land around homes, which is considered
unirrigable by conventional means, is targeted for piped systems and micro-
irrigation (WECS, 2005). In areas of outright water scarcity, for example due to
groundwater overdraft, the irrigation sub-sector’s primary concern is about the
competition for other irrigators and often less about the drying up of shallow
wells that provide for domestic uses. The latter concern can be relegated to the
WASH sub-sector.
Statutory laws usually dene allocation issues by ranking sectors, typically
with the highest priority for domestic uses, with agricultural, municipal or
environmental uses in any next rank. This ignores intra-sector differences.
Thus, high service levels for the urban middle-class of over 250lpcd (to allow
for lawn watering, for example) become legally a higher priority than the
lower, minimum domestic and small-scale productive water needs of the rural
population (Komakech etal., 2012a). The immense differences between the
small- and large-scale irrigation or other uses are even more hidden. Thus,
sector-based allocation depoliticizes water allocation at the expense of the
rural and peri-urban poor whose basic productive water needs remain legally
unprotected. The poor may even lose the tiny volumes of water that they
currently use in locations with growing competition for water resources such
as the land and water grabs by foreign investors since the late 2000s (Mehta
etal., 2012).
Another bias against the poor in statutory laws in Latin America and
Sub-Saharan Africa and increasingly in Asia is that they only recognize one
legal system: administrative permit systems (Boelens etal., 1998; vanKoppen
et al., 2007). This implies that people’s informal local governance over
water development and management, including the capital and other
strengths that are the starting point for MUS, are declared illegal. Under the
erroneous assumption that one can change one legal system into another in
the short term, every water user is either obliged to convert an existing
entitlement into a permit or is exempted. Being exempted is a second-class
entitlement leaving people without sufcient protection against permit
holders. Permit applications in administration-based systems typically
discriminate against poor men and certainly poor women. Thus, statutory law
undermines basic entitlements promoted in human rights law (vanKoppen
etal., 2014).
Beyond single-use silos and sector-based water allocation, water is allocated
to people with multiple water needs and not to sectors. The state’s minimal
duty is to protect everyone’s basic domestic and productive uses enshrined
in human rights. When water allocation becomes a zero-sum game, such
protection implies a distributive reform that curtails water uses by the ‘haves’
to protect and expand water uses by the current ‘have-nots’. Box 4.2 describes
South Africa’s inequalities in water use and water allocation policies and laws
in this regard.
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
Box 4.2 Water allocation in South Africa
In rural South Africa, 1.2% of the population (largely commercial farmers) use 95% of
the water resources. This equals a Gini coefcient of 0.99; where a Gini coefcient of 0
represents total equality and 1 total inequality (Cullis and vanKoppen, 2008). Even if one
more than doubled water use by all small users it would hardly affect the few large-scale
users, according to hypothetical quantitative scenarios calculated for the Olifants Basin.
In this basin, there are some 1,700 registered users and 290,000 unregistered rural
households. The latter’s current water use is estimated at 116lpcd. The scenario was
that they would increase their water uses up to 278lpcd. This would provide 50lpcd for
domestic uses and 228lpcd for a household irrigated plot of 1000m2 at 500mm irrigation
water per annum. (This is an unrealistically optimistic scenario because rural households
lack the infrastructure to take up such volumes.) However, the projected implication for
the 1,700 registered users was that they would have to share only 6% of their water
uses. Alternatively, if only the ten largest users had to provide this extra water, they would
have had to reduce their current water uses by 20% (Cullis and vanKoppen, 2007). The
impact of doubling or tripling WASH service levels to, for example, 100lpcd for universal
domestic-plus would be negligible, falling within the errors of the hydrological models.
South Africa’s Second National Water Resource Strategy gives a high priority to
water allocation for poverty alleviation and redressing inequities from the past. Only the
Ecological and Basic (domestic) Human Needs Reserve and international obligations
have a higher priority. National strategic uses for electricity generation and normal permit
holders have a lower priority (DWA, 2013). However, it is still unclear how this priority will
be operationalized and enforced.
Summary: re-aligning central goals
Table 4.1 summarizes what we have covered in this chapter so far. The rst two
columns list respondents’ mandates. Their objections to (or support for) the
corresponding +plus approaches that follow from their narrow mandates are
presented in italics. If professionals stay within their silos, without horizontal
communication, consensus is impossible at any level, especially to the
detriment of poor people’s small-scale productive water uses. Adopting the
+plus approaches also warrants horizontal communication on how to remove
current contradictions vis-à-vis their clients. Moving beyond silos opens up a
conversation within the water sector as a whole on its responsibility as duty
bearer to respect, protect and full internationally agreed goals for which water
is vital, especially for hitherto largely ignored small-scale productive uses.
Conclusions and recommendations for scaling up the +plus approaches
This chapter focused on the lessons learnt from discussions with sub-sector
representatives at all levels on the scaling up of the +plus approaches. The
topic of these discussions was the required changes at central levels in the
negotiations between policymakers and senior managers of service provision
organizations about the service providers’ goals and performance indicators. The
+plus approaches leverage the sub-sectors’ available top-down funding streams
scaling up the +plus approaches
Table 4.1 Sub-sector objections against scaling up the +plus approach and potential common views
My sub-sector objects to domestic-plus
because it is accountable to:
My sub-sector objects to irrigation-plus
because it is accountable to:
Potential common view
Water professionals are jointly accountable to:
Improve health through clean, nearby
drinking water and sanitation.
Other ways to improve health and livelihoods
are not my job.
Improve food, productivity and income but
only through crops.
Other ways to improve livelihoods are not my
Meet multifaceted and mutually reinforcing livelihoods
of all, with a priority for basic domestic and small-scale
productive uses (e.g. as universal domestic-plus)
Mobilize specialist expertise for livelihood impacts cost-
effectively and on demand
Mobilize engineering expertise for multipurpose
Water safety for
Treat all domestic water, also for domestic
uses that do not need drinking water quality.
Domestic-plus is a waste of expensive treated
Forbid people to drink water from canals.
Drinking water quality is not my expertise and
not my job.
Ensure in the most efcient way that 3–5litres per
capita per day are safe for drinking and cooking
Ensure larger quantities of water of lesser quality for
personal hygiene and for other domestic uses, and for
basic productive uses
Equity in fund
Target basic domestic services to all to realize
the human right to water for domestic uses.
Domestic-plus delays reaching the unserved
and meeting their human right to water for
domestic uses.
Accept that providing more water to those with
more land and other assets widens gaps in
Water to meet socio-economic human rights
(food, livelihoods) is not my job.
Ensure that all citizens, including the poor, have access
to public funding for water infrastructure for basic
domestic and productive water needs for all, smartly
subsidizing the poor
Tap the cost-effectiveness of MUS
Cost recovery Cost recovery even for operation and
maintenance is weak.
Domestic-plus generates income for better
cost recovery (favouring domestic-plus)
Cost recovery even for operation and
maintenance is weak.
Irrigation-plus can generate income from
non-irrigation uses for better cost recovery
(favouring irrigation-plus)
Broaden the uses and hence the basis for cost recovery
Target subsidies to the poor for basic services
Those who can pay should pay
Equity in water
within schemes
and at higher
Infrastructure paid by the WASH sub-sector
and designed for domestic uses means it is
a priority.
Allowing for productive uses will steal water
from domestic uses and increase inequities.
Infrastructure paid by the irrigation sub-sector
and designed for irrigation means it is a
priority, irrespective of statutory and human
rights law.
Domestic and livestock uses are negligible
quantities, so acceptable if they don’t damage.
Prioritize water allocation for basic domestic and
productive water uses for all
Include women and other marginalized people in
participatory planning from the outset to negotiate a
priority for basic domestic and productive uses for all
through technology choice and siting and rule setting
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
and technical expertise, but seek to render the accountability relation ships
and internal performance measurement arrangements stronger and more
meaningful and better adapted to their clients’ multiple water needs.
The +plus approaches propose to maintain the former single use of the sub-
sector as the priority but to promote other uses as well. Such broader uses entail
broader human development outcomes, which is positive. It tells a stronger
human story.
For the monitoring of the construction goals in given time frames, the +plus
approaches continue already existing trends to move beyond just construction,
and measure their performance in terms of functioning schemes that sustainably
deliver water services. The performance of implementing engineers and local
staff is monitored more rigorously and meaningfully than when construction
goals only were monitored. Engineering expertise from both sub-sectors can be
pooled, instead of tying it to one project only. The incremental benets–costs
ratio for the incremental other uses is high.
The +plus approaches seek to end the situation in which expertise needed
for the accompanying measures to transform water into more health and
wealth dictate that only such single uses and the assumingly related human
development impacts are dened as ‘one’s job’. Instead, such expertise should
become more demand-driven and available for many more than just the
beneciaries of one particular project.
These changes that are likely to lead to more human development
performance may seem neither too radical nor unfeasible. However, the
experiences of a decade of trying to scale up the +plus approaches, including
the interviews of the MUS Scoping Studies, showed that upward accountability
in hierarchical sub-sectors is strong, and that horizontal communication has
largely been absent. The tendency to defend the sub-sector’s mandate instead
of looking at communalities and new opportunities to deliver a better service
together requires some give and take in a new conversation across the water
sub-sectors around the specicities of water. Such conversation will soon have
to open up to include sub-sectors beyond WASH, irrigation and water resource
management and allocation.
All would recognize that their common clients are people with multiple
water needs and that the poor who strongly depend on agriculture-based
livelihoods are increasingly targeted for domestic uses but still ignored in
their water needs for productive uses. We analysed in this chapter how the
sub-sectors together can align with each other and ensure, rst, a priority for
water services for basic domestic uses, including 3–5lpcd safe for drinking, and
for basic small-scale productive uses; and, second, protection of these basic
uses against competition by larger-scale users. Universal domestic-plus is a
concrete operationalization of this goal and especially reaches women, the
landless and sick.
We noted the importance of more formal discretionary power for local ofcers
to accommodate diverse multiple uses, as some of them used to do informally
in response to their clients’ evident needs. This includes budgeting rules that
scaling up the +plus approaches
allow various nancing streams to be combined into integrated services. While
central performance indicators for services and multiple uses of infrastructure
are more meaningful and feasible, this alone does not remove the risk of top-
down decision-making on infrastructure choice and expert support that is
imposed on local ofcers and communities. As recognized in public services
reform, improved accountability in the long route becomes more effective if
accountability is also strengthened in the short route, through co-production
of services by communities and the range of relevant sub-sectors (World Bank,
2004, 2011). For water interventions, such decentralization of funding and
water allocation for co-production is MUS-by-design and implicit MUS. Their
participatory planning processes enlarge the space to tap existing self-supply
capital and ensure own priorities and ownership of multiple benets, ample
technology choice for multiple uses, and efcient management of multiple
sources. The following two chapters discuss lessons learnt from piloting and
scaling up MUS-by-design (Chapter5) and implicit MUS (Chapter6).
Scaling up MUS-by-design
Eight organizations have innovated MUS-by-design and this chapter describes their
experiences, as far as these experiences have been documented. The chapter starts
with six organizations that are implementing agencies with donor funding. Coming
from different angles, their approaches on planning and designing for multiple uses
differ slightly. All provide proof of concept, but scaling up depends on the scope of the
project and donor. The second section presents projects implemented through local
government, one well-functioning project with its own funding, and another project
that started the planning process with local government but failed to be implemented
because funds were not mobilized by that local government.
Keywords: MUS-by-design, implementing agencies, local government,
Ethiopia, Nepal, South Africa
In MUS-by-design programmes, multiple water uses (and human development
outcomes) are the goal and performance indicator. Moreover, people set
priorities in decentralized co-production of services through participatory
planning processes or other forms of client power. Local staff and communities
have access to nancial support for priorities set in the participatory needs
identication processes. Depending on their demands and in varying degrees,
they can also access engineering expertise for infrastructure hardware and
software, and expertise to turn water uses into more health and wealth.
Clients’ co-production of services enables them, in principle, to bring all their
strengths, as described in Chapter3, to the table. Unfortunately, information
to test this is limited. These programmes are still recent and have not yet been
documented, analysed and evaluated.
Scaling up MUS-by-design has also hardly been addressed yet, but we will
derive some indications about the potential. Unlike the +plus approaches,
which are scaled up by leveraging the resources of well-dened sub-sectors,
the scaling up of MUS-by-design is more diverse and depends on both the entry
point with related scaling partners and on the constellations of the projects.
As mentioned, donor projects with independent implementing agencies are in
general well equipped to pilot integrated approaches, but their sustainability
and scaling up can be difcult. We will examine how this applies to the current
experiences with MUS-by-design.
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
MUS-by-design is being implemented by eight sets of organizations in three
constellations of service provision, namely:
• by donors with implementing agencies, including private sector
involvement and promotion of self-supply;
• by donor-funded programmes implemented through local government;
• as capacity building in support of local government planning and
Table 5.1 gives an overview of the constellations and organizations and also
notes the order of magnitude of clients reached.
MUS-by-design through implementing agencies
Six organizations have pioneered MUS-by-design through own implementing
agencies and with donor funds. While communities have a stronger voice in
setting priority water uses in all cases, investments in infrastructure and the
operationalization of ‘participation’ differed.
The rst set of agencies consists of NGOs focusing on developing and scaling
up technologies for multiple uses, often through market-led supply chains and
support to self-supply. They target the poor who are able to pay. In the case
of individual technologies, clients buy the technologies. Thus, innovation of
rope-and-washer pumps has been ongoing since the early 2000s in Nicaragua
(Alberts and vander Zee, 2004), and by Mvuramanzi Trust and PumpAid in
Zimbabwe. iDE has innovated a range of affordable technologies, including
plastic-lined homestead tanks, manual drilling, treadle and rope-and-washer
Table 5.1 MUS-by-design projects in the water sector with approximate number of
clients reached
Public sector constellations
Grants earmarked for water for multiple uses
(estimated no. of clientsreached since start)
Donors with implementing
Technology NGOs (iDE, Mvuramanzi Trust, PumpAid,
Connect International, etc.) (unknown)
Africa/Asia USAID/Winrock MUS (250,000 since start)
Catholic Relief Services, Plan International (unknown)
SADC/Danida integrated water resource management
Demonstration (1,000s since start)
Women for Water Partnership (unknown)
Ethiopia Community Management Projects
(4,000schemes for 2,000,000 users)
Local government programmes
with state and/or donor funds
Nepal Rural Village Water Resource Management Project
(796 schemes for 457,000 users)
Support to local government
South Africa Bushbuckridge MUS pilot (100s)
pumps, and point-of-use treatment (vanKoppen etal., 2009). RAIN Foundation
promotes household biogas in Nepal and sand dams for multiple uses in
Ethiopia. Connect International promotes an even wider range of low-cost
individual technologies. While some initiatives originated in the WASH sub-
sector, others came from an irrigation background, together making the point
that, in practice, technologies meet multiple needs.
Winrock International
With its various partner organizations and supported by USAID and Coca Cola,
Winrock International has pioneered the implementation of MUS-by-design
since 2003. In Nepal, with iDE, 200 gravity-ow schemes for multiple uses
have been implemented in collaboration with local government. Some scaling
up took place through local government, other NGOs, and also through a
special division of the Department of Irrigation (Mikhail and Yoder, 2008;
Basnet and vanKoppen, 2011). Winrock International continues expanding
to other countries, including Tanzania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda,
and India, with some 50 global staff working on MUS (Renwick, 2012).
The MUS Scoping Study in Tanzania highlighted Winrock’s entry point in
this country, which included setting up a market chain of locally produced,
affordable technologies for water supplies for multiple uses, such as rope-
and-washer pumps, treadle pumps, point-of-use treatment, and groundwater
recharge. Local government appeared not particularly open to rope-and-washer
pumps, which they initially labelled a ‘dinosaur’ technology. However, they
later became more appreciative (vanKoppen and Keraita, 2012).
Catholic Relief Services and PLAN International
In Ethiopia, Catholic Relief Services implements MUS-by-design as integrated
catchment development and management, also reaching economies of scale.
For example, four hamlets in the catchment of Adi Daero in Tigray were
provided with a small reservoir, a canal with an irrigation scheme, and piped
residential water. MUS activities by this NGO have expanded in Dire Dawa
District (vanKoppen etal., 2009). The INGO Plan International has followed
similar approaches in Sri Lanka and Ghana, among other countries.
Danida supported the Southern Africa Development Community in designing
and implementing integrated water resource management Demonstration
Projects in six countries from 2006 to 2009. Implementing agencies in each
country solicited selected communities’ priorities for support for any aspect
of water development and management. Priorities were diverse and included
repair of small reservoirs and institutional strengthening; excavation of
wells; spring protection; construction of a locally designed weir in a ood
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
plain; gardens for ‘outsiders’ who had settled in a state scheme which was
tightly controlled by a few founding co-operative members; electric pumps
managed by elite households and to a limited (contested) extent opened up to
neighbours; multipurpose manual pumps; and women’s group petrol pumps.
However, despite of the projects’ long planning phase, funding availability
tempted some implementing agencies and local elite to mainly serve the
elite. In other cases, the implementing agencies negotiated intensively with
the elite to allocate some of the benets to the ‘have-nots’ (SADC/Danida,
2009a, 2009b). The German GIZ re-launched this approach in SADC with a
consortium of national and European partners from 2012 onwards.
The Women for Water Partnership
The Women for Water Partnership is a worldwide strategic alliance of local,
national and international women’s organizations and networks. In a small
grants project for water, The Women for Water Partnership empowered its
grassroots members to translate their priority water needs into bankable
proposals, typically for multiple uses – while many women prioritized
domestic uses. The Partnership also linked its members to donors for these
project proposals (Women for Water, n.d.).
Community Managed Projects
In Ethiopia, an innovative constellation known as Community Managed
Projects emerged to rapidly and widely spread many simple water self-supply
technologies. Although the project originated in the WASH sub-sector, the
technologies were also used for production, which was encouraged. These
projects are supported by the governments of Finland and Netherlands and
UNICEF. They channel small amounts of donor funding through local micro-
credit institutions to projects identied by communities. Local government
facilitates information and technical approval, but communities keep funding
in their savings accounts and decide about procurement and implementation.
An evaluation of Community Managed Projects showed that spending and
implementation rates of capital investments were ve times higher than
conventional projects (1,000 water points per year compared to 200 water
points per year) with above average functionality rates (94 per cent using
the approach compared to an average of 75 per cent). The budget spends
were 100 per cent, compared to 53 per cent average for the WASH sector
(Butterworth etal., 2011; CMPE, n.d.).
In sum, the experiences of the six organizations represent ‘proof of concept’
of the MUS-by-design modality. All organizations involve communities in the
co-production of services. The contributions to infrastructure investment
come from different angles, including integrated water resource management,
affordable technology development, and nancing for self-supply (assuming
that technologies will be used for multiple purposes). Participation is a one-off
process or an iterative learning process for agencies with a longer term presence,
and can be targeted at women or other specic groups.
The collaboration with local government and line agencies varies. It can be
limited to just mutual information, or government’s national and local service
provider ofcers are used and sometimes remunerated to select communities
and to carry out and supervise project activities or provide technical support
and quality control. Such relative autonomy and own funding allows piloting
and building capacity in targeted communities and service providers. The
integrated approach would have been difcult if not impossible to realize in
the current compartmentalized government set-up.
However, the relative autonomy of implementing agencies implies that
sustainability after project closure may be weak, unless the government partners
are enabled to provide post-construction and other continued support, or
sustainable market-led components have been set up. Also, without a long-
term national scaling-up partner, the scaling up of this constellation requires
continued contributions from donors. While donor interest in MUS-by-design
is growing overall, other donors including Danida in Southern Africa have
The next two constellations are through local government. Do they fare
better in terms of sustainability and scaling up?
MUS-by-design through local government
Rural Village Water Resource Management Project Nepal
The Rural Village Water Resource Management Project (RVWRMP), supported
by the governments of Nepal and Finland, implements what we dene as MUS-
by-design through local government structures in 10 districts in the middle
and far west of Nepal. Instead of working through implementing agencies,
RVWRMP supports the statutory structures and planning and budgeting
procedures of the Village Development Committees and District Development
Committees, as well as government ofcials on the ground. Currently there
is a Village Development Committee Secretary only, backed up by one or two
technical staff. Because of the recent civil unrest there are as yet no locally
elected councillors. The project lls this void by building community capacity
for participatory planning. This prepares for future democratic structures
(Rautanen etal., 2014). RVWRMP funds are earmarked to implement plans
identied through these structures.
In 1999, well before the term ‘MUS’ was coined, staff of Helvetas, a Swiss
development organization, were inspired by integrated water resource
management and conceptualized their project approach as a water use master
plan (WUMP). WUMPs align with the steps for MUS-by-design. RVWRMP
adopted this approach in 2006 (RVWRMP, 2008). A WUMP entails an inventory
of all water resources, technologies and uses, as also captured in GIS. Village
Development Committees share their understanding on where the gaps are
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
in various water resources and environment-related services and rank their
priorities. Separate women-only or disadvantaged groups-only planning
meetings are organized if their voices cannot otherwise be heard. The outcome
of this methodology is a rolling, holistic ve-year water development plan. In
the current update of WUMPs, a WUMP is being split into modules that are
less intensive and cost less, so they can be applied and replicated more widely
(Basnet and vanKoppen, 2011; Rautanen etal., 2014).
For the implementation of selected activities, Water Users Committees are
established, registered and members extensively trained to plan, implement,
oversee, operate and maintain their scheme. All stakeholders are guided by a
step-by-step process that also guides the nancial releases. When RVWRMP
realized that micro-credit provision is pivotal in this region for access to capital
and savings accounts, the project arranged for this accompanying measure
(Rautanen etal., 2014).
One lesson learnt is that RVWRMP increasingly tapped benets of multiple
uses from multiple sources. RVWRMP has various combinations that it classies
as MUS. The schemes that combine micro-hydropower and irrigation are
obvious multiple use schemes. Initially, in designing the gravity-ow piped
supplies, the Kathmandu-based consultants were biased towards domestic uses
only. Communities were not aware of options that they had not been offered
in the past. Time for interaction with villagers for participatory designs was
too limited. After some years, the project realized that virtually all gravity-
ow drinking-water systems were used for multiple purposes anyway. The
project started promoting homestead gardening, an innovation in this area,
and started supporting these productive uses. This improved food security in
this chronically food insecure region. The project also increasingly taps the
potential benets of multiple sources. For example, existing traditional spring
sources for drinking water are maintained as back-up in case other sources
fail. At the start, the project also established catchment committees parallel to
local government, but this created confusion and they were abolished. Local
government staff from different catchments easily nd each other to address
water resource and conservation issues that may arise across administrative
Another lesson is that, certainly in the beginning, all parties were biased
towards the quick, expensive new construction of larger schemes. The project
staff wanted to show ‘action’ and the local contractors and wage labourers
wanted employment.
A third lesson is that a legitimate, transparent and longer term area-wide
master plan by local government serves at least two goals in addition to
ensuring community-owned, needs-based plans. Other potential nancers
can also choose to nance prioritized actions, especially because the project
tries to include them in the planning process from the outset. The Poverty
Alleviation Fund (see Chapter6) collaborates in this way. Further, transparent
plans appeared effective in mitigating lobbying by the more powerful (Rautanen
etal., 2014).
As RVWRMP’s constellation follows statutory structures and procedures,
lessons learnt can be replicated anywhere in Nepal, provided districts
have access to both unconditional water grants or development grants (or
opportunities to combine funding streams) and the necessary capacity as well
as political support – which are all still major challenges. The importance of
ensuring that funding is available to meet expressed needs, as did RVWRMP,
appears to be vital. This becomes even clearer in the last MUS-by-design pilot
Strengthening community planning in local government:
South Africa AWARD MUS pilot
The NGO AWARD in South Africa pioneered the planning phases of MUS-
by-design in a third constellation: as support to communities to express their
voices to local government according to the statutory Integrated Development
Plan procedures. Supported by the Challenge Programme on Water and
Food, AWARD facilitated a holistic diagnosis and prioritization process in 11
communities in Ward 16 of Bushbuckridge District Municipality. Resource
mapping revealed a ‘spaghetti’ of overlaying earlier constructed and rehabilitated
domestic and irrigation structures, many of which were defunct. The long list of
identied needs included awareness-raising about vandalism, the promotion of
homestead-based tanks, and the rehabilitation of infrastructure. The repair of
a borehole came at the top of the list and was proposed for nancing.
Unfortunately, the local government put that plan aside in favour of other
pressing work that their superiors expected from them. Local government
staff’s fear that community initiatives might compete with their own
municipal schemes may also have played a role. This experience shows the
importance of a stronger link between planning processes and budgeting, a
major challenge amid numerous parallel operating planning processes by local
government and by line agencies and other stakeholders operating through
local government, each with upward accountability (Maluleke etal., 2005;
Dlamini and Cousins, 2009).
Conclusions and recommendations for scaling up MUS-by-design
This chapter described eight donor-supported projects that proved the concept
of MUS-by-design for individuals and communities. Entry points are diverse:
individual, affordable and multipurpose technologies; nancing (through
micro-credit arrangements); water as an integrated resource; or specic target
groups (women). Some leveraged the WASH sub-sector, and others came from
the irrigation sub-sector. More entry points, for example ecosystem services
approaches, may open up in the future, each with its professional community
that can be leveraged as a scaling-up partner.
In these MUS-by-design projects, the donors set the goal and allocate budgets
for any water intervention that communities prioritize in decentralized and
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
participatory planning and decision-making processes or by purchasing private
technologies. Communities express their priorities to implementing agencies
and local government, who are able to mobilize national and international
funding and other resources to meet those needs (with the exception of the
pilot in Bushbuckridge, South Africa). Thus, the long route to accountability
becomes shorter while the short route is strengthened.
However, other well-known challenges of public services continue. The
limited documentation available highlights spending pressure favouring elite
capture and new construction (although other cases showed that communities
opted for rehabilitation), and the continued single-use conventions of experts
and line agencies in providing technical support.
Independent donor funding and implementation through independent
agents in collaboration with local government allows pioneering and
innovation. It also allows the involvement of the private sector, which the
public sector may overlook. However, the replicating of lessons learnt may be
limited to the own organization only. Also, with the exception of sustainable
market supply chains of appropriate technologies, the sustainability of these
projects once the donor leaves is a question.
The alternative is working more closely with, or entirely through, local
government structures. This has the following disadvantages and advantages.
On the negative side, this chapter highlighted that:
• Capacity of local government is weak; experienced and well-resourced
agencies that support local government in the MUS pilot projects may
be needed for many more years in the project zones, but also elsewhere
where the model is replicated.
• Local governments may discourage support to self-supply; they may see
this as competing with their own monopolistic water service provision
and a means for clients to hold them more accountable.
• Local government may not be able to link the needs expressed in
participatory assessments with funding to meet those needs; thus, local
government remains deaf to people’s needs.
• Local government faces many demands from political parties, national
administrations, and various line agencies and others, each with upward
accountability; local government’s co-ordination of water-related
responsibilities is a daunting task.
On the positive side, the MUS-by-design pilots showed that:
• Local government already provides important support to implementing
agencies in information provision to projects and spreading project
information to communities, selection of communities, providing staff to
support participatory planning and implementation, systematic technical
quality control and vetting of proposals, and in some cases access to post-
construction support.
• Iterative, transparent planning through local government procedures
builds capacity and mitigates capture by elites and politicians; it can attract
funding from other governmental and non-governmental sources and
thereby promote convergence and pooling of resources. Post-construction
support can be integrated in such planning.
• As shown by RVWRMP Nepal, local government can be the sole
implementer of MUS-by-design and lessons learnt can be scaled up
nationwide, provided central funding and other support can be mobilized
for any water intervention, and local planning and implementation
capacity is available.
MUS-by-design is sector-based as it focuses on water and can be scaled
up through partners in the water sector, and potentially broader natural
resource management and ecosystems approaches. What happens and
what can be learnt if programmes leave the choice for communities even more
open, and also allow for other priorities, such as education, road, or health
care in the new generation of local and community-driven development
Implicit MUS in local and community-
driven development
This chapter turns to water components in LCDD projects, as far as these water
components have been documented. Especially in the case of MG-NREGS, research
ndings are presented that suggest that communities, their local authorities and
local service provision ofcers do opt for MUS, at least to some extent. Other features
of MG-NREGS include the scheme’s own funding and nationwide implementation
through local government. The chapter also presents examples of LCDD projects
elsewhere, each with a different implementation constellation: through implementing
agencies with own funding; through local government with own funding; and in
support of local government planning without designated funding.
Keywords: LCDD, implicit MUS, MG-NREGS, local government,
implementing agencies, India, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania
Instead of channelling large amounts of nancial and other resources from the
top down to narrowly dened single-use or even multiple-use water projects,
the new generation of local and community-driven development programmes
is designed to channel many small amounts directly to communities for the
projects of their choice. If communities opt for water, this project design
implicitly provides the institutional space for communities to bring the
ve strengths of Chapter 3 to the table: their own assets, own priorities,
for multiple benets, from multipurpose infrastructure, while efciently
combining multiple sources. Does such ‘implicit MUS’ occur, and what can be
learnt for scaling up MUS?
In trying to answer this question, the MUS Scoping Studies studied the
evidence of water components in LCDD programmes. We present examples
of the same constellations as in MUS-by-design: programmes implemented
by donors and independent implementing agencies; programmes with own
funding through local government (and in this case both state funding and
donor funding); and capacity-building support to local government without
own funding. These examples are listed in Table 6.1. The table also gives the
total number of clients in these programmes, showing the generally large scale
of projects, especially those through local government.
Unfortunately, the precise number of water projects and their clients and
their proportion out of all project clients in these community-driven projects
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
are unknown. The precise nature of water interventions is even less known. This
is partly because of the same reasons mentioned earlier (innovation is recent
and documentation and evaluation of public services is generally weak) and
partly because the focus of the LCDD programmes is not specically on water
and even less on MUS. Single-use technical support in the identication of
needs and design of projects might well have continued. The latter was found,
for example, in the MUS Scoping Study for Ghana’s Community-Based Rural
Development Project and Social Opportunities Project. When communities
opted for water projects, the (participatory) Community Water and Sanitation
Agency was called in and applied its conventional single use domestic designs
(Smits etal., 2011a). Administrative reporting requirements might also reect
conventional single-use administrations, or only main uses, and not all uses.
Indeed, we assume that if MUS factually emerges, it is despite narrow specialism
and silos, but because communities and local authorities mobilize support for
MUS to tap its strengths.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme,
the Poverty Alleviation Fund in Nepal, Tanzania’s Social Action Fund, and
Tanzania’s Opportunities and Obstacles to Development (O&OD) tool
mention a wide range of water projects. This allows some exploration of how
the institutional space for MUS has been used and whether and how better
technical support can further tap all strengths of MUS.
We rst discuss the programme that is by far the largest and also relatively
the best studied.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
reaches 55 million poor people per year, while creating small, demand-
driven and locally appropriate projects. Pilot implementation of MG-NREGS
Table 6.1 Employment generation and development grants of LCDD projects with
water components
Public sector constellations
Employment generation
(total no. of clients reached)
Development grants
(total no. of clients reached)
Local government
programmes (with state
and/or donor funds)
India MG-NREGS (55million
labourers annually)
South Africa: Community Work
Programme (99,000labourers
since start)
Tanzania Social Action Fund
(20,628,672 since start)
Donors with implementing
Nepal Poverty Alleviation
Fund (55,000 since start)
Support to local
government planning
O&OD Tanzania (two-thirds of
all rural local authorities)
started in 2005 and was rolled out nationwide by 2009. MG-NREGS aims to
provide 100days’ paid labour per year to any rural citizen claiming the right
to work as enshrined in the law. Employment guarantees for minimum wage
automatically self-targets the poor. A minimum of 60per cent of the total
annual budget of US$9billion reaches the poor in this way. Women constitute
48 per cent of the beneciaries. In Kerala, where the state government
implements MG-NREGS through Kudumbashree women’s organization, this
percentage is 90per cent.
The other 40per cent of the budget is for material and capacity-building
investments to achieve the other goal of MG-NREGS: asset creation. The scheme
devolves decision-making about the choice of works to community councils,
with the technical support of ofcers at village, block, and district levels. The
assets created allow for economic development so that wage workers do not
need to work for minimum wages any more. Thus, the long-term exit strategy
of MG-NREGS is poverty eradication.
In this decentralized, community-driven prioritization, two-thirds of the
assets chosen are for water and drought proong (Malik, 2011; Verma etal.,
2012). Thus, MG-NREGS is the world’s largest rural water project, investing
about US$3billion annually in water assets. Assets created include the digging
and excavation of wells and ponds, pit-latrine digging, irrigation-canal
rehabilitation, watershed management, groundwater recharge structures,
forestry and plantations for soil conservation, land erosion prevention, river
check dams, ood control, drainage in waterlogged areas, and gulley treatment.
While most assets are communal, other investments are for individual assets of
the marginalized Scheduled Castes and Tribes, such as pit latrines and irrigation,
plantations, horticulture or other land development. In bottom-up water
asset creation, there are no divides between water services for more uses and
livelihoods and water conservation for the sustainable availability of resources,
especially through groundwater recharge. These water works are labour intensive,
which aligns well with the goal of employment creation. Data from a study of
more than 140 best-performing MG-NREGS water assets in 75 villages across
eight districts show that, on average, the labour and material investments in
these assets can be recovered in a little over a year (Verma etal., 2011).
A comparison of these achievements with the strengths of MUS mentioned
in Chapter3 shows that the capitals of self-supply are leveraged and supported,
for both communal and individual assets. Decentralized choice of assets and
implementation strengthens and ensures local appropriateness of works and
strengthens ownership, although the respective roles of local authorities and
state ofcers, and intra-community hierarchies warrant more study. Well over
half of the works generate multiple benets from cost-effective multipurpose
infrastructure (Malik, 2011; Verma etal., 2011). Efcient use of multiple
conjunctive sources of local water cycles is central to groundwater recharge,
check dams and watershed management, among other. Hence, MG-NREGS
is implicitly, without any purposive design, also the world’s largest MUS
laboratory (Verma etal., 2011).
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
Accountability in fund allocation and spending is institutionalized in
strict guidelines and procedures for transparent planning, prioritization, fund
approval, implementation and evaluation – along the generic lines of LCDD
and the MUS guidelines alike (Adank etal., 2012). With only a few additional
dedicated MG-NREGS staff, local governments rst enable all willing workers
to obtain job cards. Within two months, action plans are discussed with
communities and technically approved up to district level. Within the next
month budgets are compiled and approved at district level. In the following
two months, budgeted workplans are sent for approval to the state government
and then to central government. In the next two months, communities and
local government assess spillovers of preceding budgets and nalize current
budgets. So within seven months, communities move from work identication
to implementation. Attendance is registered and payments to personal or
spouses’ joint bank accounts and post ofces follow within 14days. All details
of all these steps are entered into and monitored in open access electronic
databases. Social audits are encouraged in which beneciaries and NGOs can
demand further accountability and expose corruption.
The match between top-down funding and the bottom-up ‘pull’ of local
integrated needs and opportunities is not only facilitated by own funding for
employment and own funding for broadly dened assets. MG-NREGS also
promotes ‘convergence’ of the many parallel government programmes which
each have their own narrow earmarked funding. By pooling nancial resources,
gaps are lled and overlaps avoided. In this way, the central managers formalize
and promote creative integrated programme design and budgeting at district
and lower levels. When water works go beyond the administrative boundaries,
as in large-scale irrigation schemes or watershed programmes, the ofcers of the
higher level blocks and districts concerned contact each other to collaborate.
Asset creation adds value to what the alternative of MG-NREGS would
be (and some already perceive it as): a cash transfer programme. According
to Verma and Shah (2012b) the goal of asset creation can be improved in
eight ways:
• Pick the low-hanging fruit rst, in particular by rehabilitating existing
village water bodies and improving private lands (of the poor) with more
reliable maintenance.
• Keep MG-NREGS demand-driven by avoiding a supply-driven
administration under spending pressure which jeopardizes the quality of
• Recognize the importance of assets by post-construction monitoring and
capacity building of ‘barefoot engineers’.
• Assign responsibility for maintenance, preferably before the works start,
strengthening functioning local arrangements.
• Better equip MG-NREGS administration, especially in poor areas, to
avoid the vicious circle of poorer performance, for example in payment
schedules, and reducing demand.
• Build capacities of village institutions to become an effective demand
system, for example by village leaders who can show their managerial
skills through high-quality assets.
• Avoid alienating better-off farmers while maintaining MG-NREGS wage
benets, for example by general boosting of the agrarian economy.
• Get the performance measurement right and plan for an exit by improving
economic conditions to reduce demand for minimum wage labour and
monitoring the extensive database to that end.
Corruption does exist, however. A reason for Kerala’s rule to allocate 90per cent
to labour costs and only 10per cent to material costs is to avoid corruption
in procurement. Indeed, corruption is increasingly exposed in India’s media.
While some point at the fact that this is petty corruption and at least spread
among many more ‘beneciaries’ than other forms of corruption, the extensive
exposure is clearly affecting the scheme’s reputation, which might even affect
the form under which the scheme will continue if elections bring another
government to power in the rst leg of the long route to accountability.
Other LCDD programmes
Employment creation: Community Work Programme South Africa
The MG-NREGS approach was also a source of inspiration for South Africa
to start its national Community Work Programme (CWP). This programme
was piloted by NGOs starting in 2007 and has been rolled out through
local government since 2010. It has reached 99,000 beneciaries. The CWP
reports also mention many diverse water-related activities: river cleaning;
45,000 home food gardens and 5,000 community clinics, crèches or school
gardens; potable water and sanitation provision to homes, schools, clinics
and communal buildings; maintenance activities such as the repair of leaks;
cleaning irrigation canals; nutrient recycling through composting and waste
management; water and land conservation and soil erosion prevention such as
gulley treatment and managing grazing and watering of livestock; and bridge
construction. As with MG-NREGS, these achievements reect support to self-
supply, local choice, multiple benets from multipurpose infrastructure, and
management of conjunctive water sources.
Development through implementing agencies: Poverty Alleviation Fund Nepal
Since 2004, the Poverty Alleviation Fund in Nepal has piloted the LCDD
approach in support of the country’s efforts to establish a new democratic state
(PAF, 2010). The prime minister chairs the Board of Governors of the Poverty
Alleviation Fund. The World Bank, International Development Associa tion and
IFAD contribute annually about US$35million (2009/2010). Implementing
partner organizations facilitate the establishment of community organizations
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
and the identication, planning, fund disbursement, and implementation
of sub-projects. Although the community action plan is incorporated into
the planning process of the Village Development Committee and District
Development Committee, funding streams are directly to partner organiza-
tions– partly because there are no elected local governments as yet. By 2011,
the PAF had implemented 16,576 income-generation sub-projects, beneting
550,000 people in 40districts with low Human Development Indices.
Water projects gured to some extent. One of the four components is
community infrastructure, which took about a quarter of the funds. It included
water infrastructure for water supply and sanitation, small irrigation, river-bed
land reclamation, water management, plastic tanks, sprinkler-drip systems,
farmer-managed irrigation systems, and micro-hydro plants (PAF, 2010). The
fund also implemented components of the WUMP in RVWRMP.
This diversity includes improvement of self-supply (farmer-managed
irrigation) and choice, which may reect local priorities. Ownership appeared
important: the PAF project report compared the cost-effectiveness of these
demand-driven participatory infrastructure projects although the type of
infrastructure was not specied. A comparison was made between unit
costs of selected infrastructure projects planned and executed by central
government with their line agencies and with projects executed by community
organizations. This showed that costs of community organization works are
between 13per cent and 47.5per cent lower than central government costs. The
report mentions factors such as the greater sense of ownership and more careful
stewardship of resources which beneciaries view as their own, and better
knowledge of local prices and quality of local service providers than central
agencies could reasonably possess (PAF, 2010). The schemes are administratively
categorized as single use and single source; further research would be needed on
the reasons for this. It may reect continued inuence of sub-sectoral mindsets.
Development through local government: Tanzania Social Action Fund
The Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), which started in 2000, works
through local government. Local government plays an important role in
Tanzania as part of Nyerere’s mission as expressed at a UN meeting in 1974:
‘While other nations try to reach the moon, we are trying to reach the village’.
Tanzania’s current Decentralization by Devolution policy continues these
efforts. In TASAF, donors such as the International Development Agency,
DFID, and the World Food Programme established a national fund. Through
ring-fenced nancing, donors can still pursue specic aims, such as forestry
development and environmental issues. Donors could promote MUS in this
way too. By 2011, TASAF had reached 20,628,672 people. Between 2006 and
mid-2011, a total of 12,237 sub-projects were received from local government
authorities. Out of these, 10,526 sub-projects have been funded and valued at
US$100million. Besides rehabilitation of roads, the most frequent sub-projects
of targeted infrastructure development are (in this order): construction of
classrooms, improved water provision, construction or rehabilitation of
health facilities, and other. ‘Other’ includes the construction of a few small
irrigation schemes.
TASAF also has a specic public works component, which combines asset
creation and wage employment creation for unskilled workers in labour-
intensive projects. Communities choose the works. Many types of water sub-
projects are reported: construction of charco dams for livestock watering and
other uses, small irrigation schemes using both surface and groundwater, small
earthen dams, rainwater harvesting techniques, shallow wells, watershed
management, water tanks, drainage systems for storm water, restoration of
degraded areas, gully treatment and erosion prevention, windmills, protection
of water sources, rainwater harvesting, and market shed and associated facilities.
This included both water development and conservation. As construction and
earth works are labour intensive, employment creation goals may favour water
Almost half of the beneciaries of the public works programme are women.
Reportedly, women’s participation in decision-making, signing cheques and
leadership also increased to an average of 50per cent. In some sub-projects
women surpassed these benchmarks (TASAF, n.d.).
Strengthening community planning in local government:
Tanzania Opportunities and Obstacles to Development tool
Tanzania developed and applies the Opportunities and Obstacles to
Development tool (PMO-RALG, 2007, 2008) in support of local government.
The Prime Minister’s Ofce of Regional and Local Government is leading in
this, in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The
O&OD tool focuses on the decentralized rst leg of the long route and on
the short route to accountability between communities and local government
authorities and service providers. Since 2001, more than two-thirds of the local
government authorities in Tanzania have been trained. At national, district
and ward level, facilitators are trained to support communities in expressing
their voice and prioritizing their multi-sectoral needs. The identied priorities
constitute multi-sectoral three-year community development plans that are
updated annually.
As for AWARD’s integrated water planning in South Africa, the O&OD
planning supports local government staff and procedures, but is weakly linked
to the budget planning and allocation processes of the second leg of the long
route to accountability. As reported in evaluations (PMO-RALG, 2007, 2008;
Taylor, 2011), district-level authorities receive the multi-sectoral community
priority plans of their 60–100 villages. They have to sort the plans by hand
and divide them into sectors with their funding streams. There is no one
spreadsheet that provides an overview. All single-use water basket funds or
education, health or agriculture sectors have their own top-down planning
systems, which ‘attach importance to effective and efcient implementation
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
of interventions which meet the sectoral objectives and strategies’. For the sake
of the top-down ‘solid planning and budgeting system’, district authorities
are forced to prioritize those national plans over community plans. Local
governments have started to receive a few untied funding streams. ‘For fair
and transparent funding’, budget guidelines are to be used. However, these
guidelines are delayed and keep changing. Even once the budgets are allocated,
budgets still may change. Moreover, the community plans are too expensive for
the available resources, while the O&OD process itself is also expensive. Thus,
there is a mismatch between expressed needs and accountable disbursement
of central funding.
Water supply pipes, irrigation schemes, streams and wetlands are all
mentioned in the handbook for the situational analysis maps. However,
without upfront funding to that end, even if an integrated community-driven
MUS plan had been compiled, funding requirements would have forced ofcers
to dissect it again according to the single-use sub-sectors entrenched in single-
use basket funding.
Conclusions and recommendations for scaling up implicit MUS
Within the past decade, LCDD approaches have implicitly promoted demand-
driven water interventions at very large scales. These approaches are highly
appropriate for meeting the diverse basic and small-scale productive uses,
and to ll the water sector’s void in taking responsibility for public services
to the poor that meet their productive needs as well. The programme
constellations are similar to the MUS-by-design projects. LCDD through
local government with own funding is the proven approach of MG-NREGS
in which the decentralized long route to accountability and the short route
to accountability are made to work together. Others are trying to replicate
it. Treasuries and donors divide central funding to many small projects
on the ground, according to clear and transparent guidelines for project
development and conditions, intensive empowerment and capacity building,
and transparent fund allocation, accountancy and social audits. The service
is co-produced from the early planning phases onwards, with all sub-sectors
relevant for water. National directives to promote convergence can further
help to match bottom-up demands with public support.
LCDD projects by donors with implementing agencies depend on continued
donor funding; this works better when various donors pool their resources
into a central fund. The importance of guaranteed funding for outcomes of
participatory planning becomes clear in the third constellation of programmes
that support local government and rely on unconditional grants (which are
limited for most local government) or on convergence and pooling of the
funding from the many top-down parallel projects. This is difcult indeed;
it warrants dissecting even integrated water proposals back into single-
use interventions, if the proposals are not immediately buried under local
government’s other competing demands.
All projects reported a wide range of water development and conservation
interventions, possibly reecting the general success of LCDD for small
infrastructure projects. Further research is recommended to reveal in much
more detail whether and how communities and local authorities designed MUS.
Questions include whether and how engineering, water-related health and
wealth expertise, and expertise from other sectors was mobilized and aligned;
whether and how the participatory planning process included all community
members and facilitated the identication of priority actions; and whether and
how the weaknesses of public services were addressed, with regard to problems
such as supply-driven spending pressure, lack of sustainability (especially in
infrastructure maintenance); and elite capture and corruption. Above all, such
research will assess whether and how the ve strengths of MUS are tapped and
can be tapped better at the already large scales of LCDD projects.
Conclusions and recommendations
After recapping the strengths of MUS, we conclude with the key lessons learnt at
central level on the required but very gradual change in mandates of the specialist
water sub-sectors’ monitoring of construction targets, towards water services for a
priority use and other uses, or for any uses that communities prioritize for broader
human development outcomes. The key lessons learnt at local level revolve around
the scaling up of participatory planning processes and co-production of services.
The recommendation is to further consolidate the dialogue between public services
reformers and the water sector in general, and MUS proponents in particular.
Keywords: human development performance, central re-alignment, local
co-production of services
This book has explored the synergies between global public services reform and
such reform in the water sector, in which MUS is the pivot. The accountability
triangle of public services and related concepts allows an insightful analysis of
experiences in piloting and scaling up MUS. We have shown how the WASH
and irrigation sub-sectors have already adopted some measures to improve
performance within their silos, and how MUS takes these trends forward
across the sub-sectors and from the planning phase of services onwards. We
conclude that the synergies revolve around the evidence and likelihood that
placing people, with multiple water needs, at centre stage in water services
contributes more effectively to gender-equitable poverty alleviation and
human development than sub-sectoral approaches; and further, around the
two main challenges for scaling up MUS: re-alignment of sectoral services at
central levels and co-production of MUS at local levels.
The higher human development performance of MUS
We have shown that MUS entails ve new proven or plausible strengths to
improve human development outcomes of water services.
1. MUS leverages and supports self-supply. Tapping communities’ human,
nancial, technical, physical, and institutional capital is more cost-
effective and gives communities choice and power vis-à-vis public service
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
2. MUS meets people’s priorities, which ensures more ownership and local
appropriateness of choices, especially for diverse productive water uses.
This improves sustainability.
3. MUS promotes multiple uses, leading to broader mutually reinforcing
livelihood benets and human development outcomes.
4. MUS designs multipurpose infrastructure as the rule, which is more cost-
effective. The incremental costs needed to expand single-use infrastructure
to multiple-use infrastructure lead to very high benets. Moreover, by
planning for these uses, damage of unplanned uses is avoided.
5. MUS efciently uses and re-uses water from multiple water sources in the
local water cycle, which offers more options and resilience.
Human development outcomes and re-alignment at central levels
At central levels, the main challenge in realizing MUS at scale is the
re-alignment of the sub-sectors. We have analysed how funding, engineering
expertise, and expertise to render water uses more benecial through accom-
panying measures (the expertise to create health and wealth) are tightly
locked in silos. The sub-sectors are dominated by the expertise to create health
or wealth and the ultimate human development outcomes of that single use.
This consolidates the assumption that water can only be used for that purpose,
even if communities have other priorities as well – as they typically have.
The book has analysed how the domestic-plus and irrigation-plus approaches
suggest that central policymakers and senior managers, who promote an
outcome-based services approach of providing water in agreed quantities, of
agreed quality at agreed times and sites, can well promote their priority water
use and other water uses for broader human development outcomes.
The challenge is to unlock the expertise to create health and wealth from the
top-down hierarchical silos, so a question for further consideration is how this
expertise can be provided in a demand-driven manner, and more effectively.
With regard to engineering expertise and other public support to operate
and maintain infrastructure, the question is how infrastructure planning and
design can become more participatory to meet communities’ priority uses.
Communities, in particular the poor and women, need to have more choice in
individual or communal infrastructure, operation and maintenance obligations,
and in the site of the infrastructure. Private technology suppliers can play a
strong role, while governments and NGOs can assist in rendering technologies
more affordable. More work is also needed on further subsidization and
nancing facilities to ensure that public and private support reaches poor men
and especially poor women.
In addition to reshaping such indispensable expertise, central-level water
policymakers and senior managers need to decentralize decision-making about
investments to communities and their authorities – another eld where public
service providers can learn from each other. Nevertheless, water professionals
have unique competencies and responsibilities in ensuring that public funding
for water services contributes to achieving the international and national policy
commitments to gender-equitable poverty alleviation. In order to take up this
responsibility, we identied the need to start a conversation on a new common
vision on priorities in which the water sub-sectors collaborate and learn from
each other instead of defending narrow contradictory sub-sector views.
Such vision could prioritize, rst, accelerating efforts for universal water
supplies for basic domestic uses, out of which at least 3–5lpcd should be safe,
both for women’s empowerment and for health. A second priority would be to
meet basic productive water uses, beyond the few pockets of public irrigation
schemes, for which neither the WASH nor the irrigation sub-sector has taken
responsibility in the past. Domestic-plus, which tends to favour women and
also reaches the landless and disabled, is a practical way to achieve that goal.
Third, statutory water law reform is urgently warranted to respect and protect
poor people’s basic domestic and small-scale productive water uses.
Scaling up MUS requires public funding to reach its goal, together with both
forms of demand-driven expertise, and decentralization of decision-making
about fund allocation to many small projects co-produced by communities and
their authorities. Funding can be leveraged from the WASH and irrigation sub-
sectors that maintain their priority use (in the +plus approaches), or from any
funding source, but usually from within the water sector, that sets as its goal
general water intervention according to people’s priorities (MUS-by-design).
Considerable funding also appears to come from donor- and state-funded
LCDD programmes that leave the choice of the intervention to communities.
If communities opt for water interventions, they have institutional space to
apply MUS (implicit MUS).
Co-production of services at local levels
The third eld of synergies between public services reform and MUS concerns
the co-production of services at local levels. While the +plus approaches
give more discretionary power to their local service provision ofcers,
decentralization and co-production goes further: processes of participatory
planning are facilitated and funding is mobilized for the results of these
processes. Private sector support, for example, for affordable technology
supply chains complements this.
Implementing agencies with own funding have more autonomy to innovate
and to proof the concept of MUS-by-design, as also known for agencies
implementing LCDD pilot projects. MUS-by-design and LCDD projects with
own state or donor funding are also implemented through local government,
also at very large scales. MUS-by-design ts and strengthens iterative local
government planning and implementation procedures, including co-ordination
with other sectors, such as transport, market or energy.
However, without guaranteed funding for the priorities identied in the
participatory planning process, the expressed needs risk falling on local
government’s deaf ears because of their lack of unconditional monies and
Scaling up Multiple uSe Water ServiceS
because other top-down demands with pre-dened central goals compete for
their attention.
Communities identied a broad range of water interventions, which reected
a high local diversity in priorities. This encompassed multiple water sources
in the water cycle and many productive uses that have no clear institutional
home as yet in government structures.
Persistent challenges of public services were also reported, where exchange
and joint learning on possible solutions will also be rewarding. One example
is male elite capture, which was partially mitigated by transparent planning
and avoidance of spending pressure. Women’s exclusion can be mitigated by a
widely pursued priority for domestic uses across the water sector. More work is
especially needed on smart subsidies for the poor. Another persistent challenge
is the risk of weak cost recovery and low infrastructure sustainability.
The strong links between global reform in public services and MUS in the
water sector warrant consolidated dialogue to realize the ve strengths of
MUS for a more pro-poor and gender-equitable water services. The available
knowledge points at the ‘why’ of such dialogue and also the broad directions
on ‘how to’ realize such better performance. More rigorous and comparative
documentation, analysis and ex-post evaluation of all projects described and
other existing literature will already greatly deepen knowledge. Implicit MUS
should be made explicit. The design and implementation of future piloting
and especially scaling up can generate further insights of well-analysed
In this dialogue, water specialists can deepen expertise on the ve strengths
of MUS, including expertise of the specicities of water resources development
and management, participatory engineering design expertise, and expertise to
render water more benecial for multifaceted livelihoods.
The public sector reform will continue generating multi-sectoral LCDD
projects that provide the implicit space for MUS, also in co-production with
the many other sectors relevant for water. Insights from public sector reform
will inform the co-production of MUS-by-design programmes from central to
local levels and vice versa, and their further scaling up. Solutions for spending
pressure, male elite capture, cost recovery and post-construction support, and
other typical aws in the public sector will also be addressed more productively
in more dialogue.
Lastly, communities’ self-supply and their priorities, which are the basis for
MUS, need to be better understood. After all, the ve strengths of MUS only
mirror how communities, who are not constrained by sectoral mindsets, have
developed and managed water resources since time immemorial.
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