Archive for April, 2014

April 27, 2014

Rotary, UNESCO-IHE Announce the First Graduating Class from a Scholarship Program to Improve Water and Sanitation in Underserved Communities

WaterSan Perspective
April 27, 2014

The first class of five Rotary sponsored scholars has graduated with Master of Science degrees in water education from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The graduates now will apply their education to water and sanitation projects in their home countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Rotary International Logo

Rotary International Logo

Established in 2011, the partnership between Rotary and UNESCO-IHE — the world’s largest graduate water education facility — addresses the global water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan and implement solutions in countries where communities lack access to clean water and safe sanitation.

Rotary provides scholarship grants that enable local Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eligible students to the program. Rotary members mentor the students throughout the program, building positive relationships that continue after graduation.

“We’re proud of the Rotary and UNESCO-IHE partnership and especially proud of our first class of Rotary water scholars, who will now use their expertise to develop sustainable water and sanitation solutions in their home countries,” said Rotary Foundation Trustee Stephen R. Brown.

“The mentoring of the students by Rotary clubs and Rotary members – during their studies at UNESCO-IHE, as well as after they return home – is essential to the success of the scholarship program. These relationships and networks will enable students to effectively implement their skills in their own local communities. Their work to improve water and sanitation conditions will have a positive, lasting impact around the world.”

His sentiments are echoed by UNESCO-IHE Rector AndrásSzöllösi-Nagy. “I am confident that as these young professionals return home, they will continue to play a vital role in managing our water systems in a sustainable way for future generations,” he said. “As alumni, they will remain part of the largest network of water professionals and become part of an extensive network of fellow Rotary scholarship recipients and Rotarians worldwide.”

For example, graduate Bernice Asamoah, of Ghana, plans a hygiene project that will use solar power to disinfect water for communal toilet facilities. Graduate Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli, of Nigeria, knows the value of public education, especially to empower children to become change agents. “The objective is to visit schools and to teach children and adolescents basic sanitation habits,” he said.

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Another graduate, TemesgenAdamu, of Ethiopia, points to the World Health Organization’s statistics indicating that about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation, and over 783 million people lack access to clean drinking water.

“In my home country, the water quality is poor, safe water and sanitation facilities are inaccessible and water based diseases widespread,” Adamu said.

Graduate Gonzalo Duró, of Argentina, said he learned the critical importance of “cooperation between partners, institutions and professionals” in developing solutions to water and sanitation issues, while Uganda’s Godfrey Baguma appreciated the practical nature of the studies.

“I am now able to address water and sanitation issues in a more integrated and technical manner,” Baguma said, adding that his interactions with Rotary members helped make Delft “a home away from home.”

Building on the success of the first class, the second class of students – 16 in total – began graduate studies in October 2013 and will graduate in 2015. Applications for the scholarship program can be found here: http://www.unesco-ihe.org/node/15630

The UNESCO-IHE graduates become part of a vast network of Rotary Foundation alumni, consisting of 120,000 leaders and change agents around the world. Since 1947, more than 43,000 students and fellows have received Rotary scholarships supporting studies in a variety of disciplines representing a total investment of more than US$557 million.

The students’ thesis focused on various fields as indicted below:
– TemesgenAdamu (Ethiopia), thesis: “Impact of Climate change, land use changes and water resource management on the hydrology of Rib-Gumera Catchment, Ethiopia”
– Godfrey Peterson Baguma (Uganda), thesis: “Pathogen removal in a low-coast AnammoxDwonflow Hanging Sponge reactor”
Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli (Nigeria), thesis: “Hydraulic Modelling: Uncertainty Estimation and Comparison”
– Bernice Asamoah (Ghana), thesis: “Disinfection of greywater from communal toilets using UVA enhanced with TiO2 after pre-treatment with slow sand filter” and
– Gonzalo Duró (Argentina), thesis: “Bar formation in channels with varying width: numerical analysis and practical engineering implications”.

April 23, 2014

Uganda: Over 930 Families Exchange Labour for Water.

Nelson Kukundakwe
April 23, 2014

Close to 1000 residents of Bunusya in Kakiika Sub County, Mbarara district of southwestern Uganda are choosing to work communally to extend water to their communities after being hit by severe water shortage.

Over 930 families with a population of about 9200 have been affected by this water shortage.

Children in Bunusya in Kakiika Sub County, Mbarara district of southwestern Uganda fetch water from a swamp

Children in Bunusya in Kakiika Sub County, Mbarara district of southwestern Uganda fetch water from a swamp

The decision by the residents to volunteer their labor was unanimously reached at in a community meeting that was held at Bunusya cell.

It follows an official letter that was received from the water and environment minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu. In the letter, the minister was responding to the demands the local people had submitted in 2010 petitioning for a clean gravity water scheme.

Now, the residents are to give in a helping hand in digging pavements for underground water pipes that will cover a 6km distance from Koranorya to Bunusya and Kamurangire.

Godfrey Baryomunsi, the Vice chairperson Mbarara district says the work is projected to take 3 months maximum.

Speaking during the meeting, the residents expressed relief over the given support. “Since 1961, I have suffered water shortage and I had wanted electricity but I have gotten none” said George Kasigaire an elder in the village further stressing that “since this has come up and it’s a social need, we have to pay any price so as to seize it.”

Another resident, Immaculate Katushabe laments the burden they go through in trying to raise the family without water. She pleads to men for quick intervention.

“Men please, kindly come to our rescue by giving in your labor at will. It costs us 2 to 3 hours to get a Jerrycan of water that is even too dirty,” note Katushabe.

Residents in Bunusya and Rwemigina up to now depend on seasonal rain water and resort to swamp water when ponds deplete during a dry spells.

“This swamp never dries up at least but on top of our children who move more than 2km for water, we also fear for our health because this water is contaminated, all exhausts from Mbarara municipality and uphill collect here” says Stephen Muhumuza a resident.

A girl child returns from collecting water in a shallow well in western Uganda.

A girl child returns from collecting water in a shallow well in western Uganda.

Muhumuza notes that three children have so far drowned in the swamp in a period of two year.

Considering the geographical terrain, all the two parishes of Bunusya and Kamurangire with their 11 villages lie in the valley and the Akashengye swamp is the only existing catchment swamp.

The chairperson Kakiika sub county Benon Muganga says the scheme will not compensate anyone whose property such as land will be encroached on.

“We expect residents to lend us their land out of free will because this came in as an offer that is to our benefit,” he says.

April 23, 2014

First African Water Integrity Summit to Address Corruption Issues in the Sector

Wallace Mawire
April 23, 2014

The first African water integrity summit to be held in Lusaka, Zambia on 29 to 30 April, 2013 will address corruption in the water sector in Africa, according to Sanna Gustafsson, Communications Officer for the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

“Twenty-five percent of all water investments or about 50 billion dollar is lost to corruption every year.

SIWI Logo

SIWI Logo

The Summit “Accelerating towards a Water Secure World” will be held the aim to encourage and stimulate dialogue on how corruption can be addressed in the water sector at a regional and national level,” Gustafsson said.

Gustafsson added that typical examples of corruption in the water sector include falsified meter readings, distorted site selection of boreholes or abstraction points for irrigation, collusion and favouritism in public procurement and nepotism in the allocation of public offices.

The summit will gather water sector stakeholders from Western, Southern and Eastern Africa to exchange knowledge and experiences, sharing know-how, experiences, successful tools and challenges when implementing water integrity action plans. It is also expected to contribute to building political ownership for water integrity practice, assess the gaps and develop a way forward for further enhancing integrity in the water sector.

The Summit is reported to be a culmination of a three year sub-saharan capacity building programme on water integrity that has successfully trained more than 400 stakeholders across 36 countries.

One of pictures that were exhibited during the 2012 World Water Forum in Marseille France showing Women meditating in water.

One of pictures that were exhibited during the 2012 World Water Forum in Marseille France showing Women meditating in water.

The programme, as well as the Summit, is implemented by UNDP-Water Governance Facility, The Water Integrity Network, UNDP/Cap-Net, WaterNet and SIWI.

At the end of the summit, a Summit Declaration is expected to be be published on the SIWI webpage.

The declaration will also be submitted to the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) for consideration by its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and General Assembly.

April 23, 2014

Malawi Far From Linking Water and Energy Operations

George Mhango
April 23, 2014

Although Shire River is a major source of water and energy for Malawi, frequent droughts induced by a changing climate forced by increased demand has a negative effect on the water availability and livelihoods.

A concept paper for the Shire River Basin says major hydroelectric projects, which involve the construction of dams on the river, restrict the flow rate and affects the lives of a million downstream herders, sugar and just like fishers.

Shire River Bridge, Mangochi Malawi

Shire River Bridge, Mangochi Malawi

The paper argues that the main problem is that plans to harness water production, energy generation, irrigation projects and other uses were being developed separately both at the national and regional levels.

“What this means to some extent is that the authorities were not talking to each other about the river and its ecosystems so that as one they harmonise their operations to the advantage of public and private sectors, the paper reads.

During a key agenda item at the week-long Water Forum in Marseilles, France in 2012, Malawi and other countries also suggested overcoming the problem of how to share water resources through what scientists call “the nexus approach,”

Bai Mass Tall, the executive secretary of AMCOW (African Minister's Council on Water) speaking during the closing function of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille

Bai Mass Tall, the executive secretary of AMCOW (African Minister’s Council on Water) speaking during the closing function of the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille

The nexus approach seeks to find solutions based on the interconnections between various sectors or disciplines and is regarded along with “resilience” as a term that could revive sustainable water and energy development as per the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on Environmental Sustainability.

The water-energy nexus here in Africa has worked in Nigeria around the Niger River Delta, where experts harmonised operations after surveys showed that the two were critical for understanding water and energy cycles for efficient and sustainable use of these resources.

One Lilongwe-based water user, Christopher Kamuvwe wonders why despite the inherent connection between the two sectors, energy and water planners routinely make decisions that impact one another without understanding policy complexities of the other sector.

“This miscommunication often hides joint opportunities for conservation to the detriment of budgets, efficiency, the environment and public health, and inhibits both sectors from fully accounting for the financial, environmental or social effects they have on each other and the country’s economic development,” complains Kamuvwe.

But if it means drawing lessons to harmonise water and energy, Bondo Villagers, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mabuka Mulanje have become a shining example of the concept with using Lichenya River whose source is Mulanje Mountain flowing 24/7.

MuREA Projects officer Harry Lumbe was quoted in the media last December as saying, Bondo communities are role models in that they have travelled to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia to share the idea as to how they have linked water and energy operations on their own.

The project pegged at K60 million with funding from the European Union (EU) has its own power generating house. “Almost 4 000 households, health facilities and business enterprises are connected despite financial setbacks. Community assets such as Kabichi Primary, Malowa CDSS and Bondo Health Centre had power during the first phase,” he said, adding that water for home use is also not a problem.

While most tea plantations such as Lujeri have their own power and water plants in Mulanje, the Bondo micro-hydro power project is the brainchild of Mulanje Renewable Energy Agency through Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT).

In such an area, thousands of people were not connected to the national power grid by Escom or the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep), according to the Ministry of Energy.

Bondo is second after Kavuzi in Nkhata Bay started producing power for use by their communities in the late 1990s. Kavuzi shares boundaries between Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay.

“Let Escom and water boards be underone ministry if this idea is going to work because they interlink. This will also help have quality water and energy services in every locality where there are river. For example, we can have production points for water and power on Ruo, South Rukuru, Bua, among other rivers,” observes Kamuvwe.

Problems that communities face vindicate that only eight percent of the country’s population are connected to the national power grid, a source of power that has become increasingly unreliable due to power blackouts.

Although, government through water and energy sectors backs such initiatives of communities in Bondo and the much touted Shire River Basin, problems of water and power in the country cannot be overemphasized.

There is increased need for investing in sanitation and water supply in LDCs to end water scarcity

There is increased need for investing in sanitation and water supply in LDCs to end water scarcity

For example, prevailing water and power generation hiccups were some of the challenges that forced the Consumers Association of Malawi (Malawi) and other civil and human rights bodies to demonstrate in the streets of Blantyre on July 20. The protests left 20 people dead as they demanded improvement in the leadership style of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

Cama also initiated its own follow up protest in January last year, in which they called on the leadership of President Joyce Banda to intervene. But Banda’s government claims to have improved the fuel, governance and human rights, energy and water challenges.

However, water and energy stakeholders are expected to have tough sessions this year to borrow a leaf from Bondo villagers during the national conference on water ahead of the World Water Day at the College of Medicine in Blantyre.

Water Services Association of Malawi (Wasama), executive director Benedicto Chakhame says this year the UN with its member States and other relevant stakeholders – is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus.

He says the idea aims to address inequities, especially for the ‘bottom billion’, who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services.

Chakhame states: “It also aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy.”

In line with the spirit of harmonising operations between water and energy, this is why as Malawi commemorated the World Water Day clear focus was on Water and Energy, to explore emerging challenges on increased energy demands on water sources sustainability and quality and highlight some of ways to curb the situation.

Chakhame says energy demands in form of bio fuels such as firewood threatens the availability of water resources and water quality due to for instance, continued cutting down of trees [for energy production] along the country’s major river banks, catchment areas and water sources.

“Water and energy are interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilisation of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources, hence the theme,” says Chakhame.

With different studies showing that water sources are slowly dilapidating such that most rivers will be no more by the year 2035, it remains to be seen how Malawi is expected to deal with climate changes, population and energy demands that causes pollution.

This is because in the State of the-Nation Address in 2013, President Banda did not single out how government intends to harmonise the two, water and energy in line with this year’s World Water Day theme. From her speech, water and energy projects are to be carried out separately.

But Chakhame argues that in order to manage government, water and energy, stakeholders are exploring what ways planners and decision makers need to do that can maximise the supply of one while minimising the over use of the other.

April 23, 2014

Zambia: Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company Voted the Best in Developing World

NEWTON SIBANDA
April 23, 2014

LUSAKA Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) has been voted the best water utility company in the developing world at the just ended Global Water summit in France.

LWSC public relations and marketing manager Topsy Sikalinda said in a statement that the company was selected from four other utility companies from various African countries.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Mr Sikalinda said the Water Leaders Award is a global water awards event designed to reward excellence and innovation that recognizes utility companies making a difference at the front-line of the battle for safe water and good sanitation.

This year, the awards were presented by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the French capital, Paris.

“LWSC was voted amongst the best four utilities in the developing world that were eligible to receive the award for 2014.

The other three were ABSA of Argentina, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board of India and National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda,” Mr Sikalinda said.

Water scarcity is one of the world's leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally

Water scarcity is one of the world’s leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally

LWSC managing director George Ndongwe said the company has made progress in improving the lives of people through improved water supply and sanitation services.

“We are delighted to be recognized by Global Water Intelligence as the best water utility company.

We have made a lot of strides in improving the lives of people in Lusaka through projects that benefited over 500,000 people,” Mr Ndongwe said.

He said the company has completed the construction of a new treatment plant in Luangwa district and the rehabilitation of the Kaseba water treatment in Kafue.

Mr Ndongwe said other projects include the installation of new water connections in Lusaka`s Libala South, Kaunda Square and many other surrounding areas.

April 9, 2014

IRC joins dialogue in Washington on Sanitation and Water for All

IRC and WaterSan Perspective
April 09, 2014

The third Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting will be held at the World Bank in Washington DC on 11 April 2014. It is a major milestone as developing and donor countries, and international organisations meet to discuss and commit to improved access to sanitation and water for all.

The Dutch based think-and-do tank IRC says water, sanitation and hygiene deserve the attention of the highest level policymakers around the world.

index

The SWA High Level Meetings are organized to address the issue that nearly 800 million people do not have access to clean drinking water, and over a third of the world’s population lives without adequate sanitation facilities.

Held once every two years, the SWA High Level Meetings bring together ministers of finance, water and sanitation from developing countries; ministers of development cooperation from donor countries such as the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States; high-level representatives from development banks such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank; and leading sanitation and water organisations.

DEVCO Eco Composting Toilet

DEVCO Eco Composting Toilet

As an active member since the SWA launch in 2009, leading water and sanitation organisation IRC has publicly committed to and wishes to be held accountable for five statements , one of them being to:

“Contribute to driving a global movement, in partnership with local and national govern­ments and other organizations, that promotes the delivery of sustainable services to achieve safe water, sanitation and hygiene services for everyone, forever by 2030.”

In a news statement, IRC notes that it believes that today’s world water crisis is not just about scarcity or lack of hardware. Systems that should give people access break down, or provide sub-standard services on a massive scale across the world. IRC believes that strengthening the ability of governments to lead water and sanitation services is not only the best route to bring improvements to scale, but the only viable strategy in preparing for a post-aid era.

After the High Level meeting, IRC says it will continue to support its partner countries and other sector players in implementing its commitments. Through its engagement in SWA working groups, IRC actively contributes to lesson learning and sharing among the SWA partners and strengthens the sector’s knowledge base on successful approaches to achieve sustainable service delivery for everyone, forever.

April 9, 2014

Ministers to Make New Promises on Water and Sanitation at SWA Meeting

WaterAid Nigeria and WaterSan Perspective
April 09, 2014

Ministers from nearly 50 countries including Nigeria will submit new commitments to increase access to water and sanitation at the Sanitation and Water for All High-Level Meeting in Washington, DC, USA, on Friday, 11 April 2014.

The Sanitation and Water for All partnership High-Level Meeting, which is being held in conjunction with the 2014 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group, will be opened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

Over half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits

Over half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits

The Sanitation and Water for All partnership is a global partnership of over 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organizations and other development partners working together to catalyse political leadership and action, improve accountability and use scarce resources more effectively.

The High Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, of which WaterAid was a founding partner, brings together this coalition of more than 90 partners, including organisations such as the World Bank and UNICEF, to work towards a common vision of universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

Two years ago, 48 countries, including Nigeria, made 415 commitments toward expanding access to safe water and sanitation. This year, countries will assess their progress and make new efforts to continue that momentum.

%d bloggers like this: