Archive for August, 2015

August 28, 2015

Mid-Term Review Shows Significant Progress On 56% Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commitments; Slow Progress on Financing

WaterSan Perspective
August 28, 2015

Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partners report significant progress on 56% of the 383 commitments tabled by 43 developing countries and 12 donors at the 2014 High Level Meeting.

Most of the commitments aim at removing barriers to progress, eliminating inequalities and ensuring sustainability of water and sanitation services.

Countries report significant progress on half of their commitments, including a tenth nearly or already achieved. In particular, they report progress on commitments to improve the visibility of the sector, develop and implement national monitoring systems, and increase institutional and human capacity.

SWA and its partners work towards a common vision of universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

SWA and its partners work towards a common vision of universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

Countries also report slow progress on almost 40% of their commitments, including 7% facing major barriers. Although there are some specific good examples of increased budget allocations for the sector, overall, country commitments related to financing are lagging behind.

Donors achieved significant progress on 81% of their commitments, including more than a quarter either already or almost complete. Most of this progress is concentrated on commitments around financing, improving visibility of the sector and decentralization. Donors also report slow progress on 19%, mostly on the few commitments related to increasing evidence and improving coordination and alignment.

These are the main conclusions of the Mid-Term Review of Progress, the consolidation of SWA partners’ self-monitoring midway through April 2016, by when most commitments should be achieved. The commitments are set and monitored by governments, together with the main in-country stakeholders.

“We are encouraged by the results of the Mid-term Review and partners’ participation in it: 40 of the 43 countries and all 12 donors that made commitments reported back a year later,” said Catarina de Albuquerque, Executive Chair of SWA. “The spirit of the reporting is about learning from experience. We look at where we are making progress, and where we are still facing challenges, and this strengthens our resolve to do better.”

August 28, 2015

Coca-Cola on Track to Meet 100% Water Replenishment Goal

WaterSan Perspective
August 28, 2015

The Coca-Cola Company and its global bottling partners (the Coca-Cola system) have announced they are on track to meet their 2020 water replenishment goal by the end of 2015.

Based on the Coca-Cola system’s global water replenishment projects to date, the system is balancing the equivalent of an estimated 94 percent of the water used in its finished beverages based on 2014 sales volume.

Since 2004, Coca-Cola has replenished an estimated 153.6 billion liters of water back to communities and nature through 209 community water projects in 61 countries. The Coca-Cola system returned approximately 126.7 billion liters of water used in its manufacturing processes back to communities and nature through treated wastewater in 2014. These combined efforts put Coca-Cola on track to be the first global food and beverage company to replenish all the water it uses back to communities and nature.

While we have made significant progress toward making that goal a reality, we are more intent than ever to give back the equivalent of all the water that we use to communities and nature. And we will continue to do so after we meet the 100 percent goal,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company

“There is no resource more precious to human life and the health of our global ecosystems and economies than water. As a consumer of water, the Coca-Cola system has a special responsibility to protect this shared resource. This is why we set an aspirational goal of being water neutral by 2020.”

Coca-Cola is able to give back the amount of water equivalent to what it uses in its finished beverages and their production through replenishment projects, increasing water use efficiency in its plants, and returning water to watersheds and municipalities through wastewater treatment. Part of meeting its replenishment goal is engaging in diverse, locally focused community water projects. Each project works toward set objectives such as providing or improving access to safe water and sanitation, protecting watersheds, supporting water conservation and raising awareness on critical local water issues.

Coca-Cola Company insists it is on track to meet their 2020 water replenishment goal by the end of 2015

Coca-Cola Company insists it is on track to meet their 2020 water replenishment goal by the end of 2015

Once projects are established, the Company and its bottling partners work to ensure those projects remain sustainable within communities over time and continue to replenish water. These efforts, as well as new projects, frequently address local source water vulnerabilities and balance additional sales volume as Coca-Cola’s business continues to grow each year.

“More and more companies now recognize that factoring nature into their decision-making is a smart business strategy. Coca-Cola’s commitment to water underscores that investing in nature can produce very positive returns for businesses and local communities,” said Mark Tercek, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

August 28, 2015

2015 World Water Week: Water Man of India wins Stockholm Water Prize

WaterSan Perspective
August 28, 2015

Rajendra Singh of India this week received Stockholm Water Prize for his innovative water restoration efforts, improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary courage and determination in his quest to improve the living conditions for those most in need. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the prize to Rajendra Singh at a Royal Award Ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm.

Rajendra Singh (L) receiving the Stockholm Water Prize

Rajendra Singh (L) receiving the Stockholm Water Prize

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Committee said that “today’s water problems cannot be solved by science or technology alone. Rajendra Singh’s life work has been in building social capacity to solve local water problems through participatory action, empowerment of women, linking indigenous know-how with modern scientific and technical approaches.”

On receiving the Prize, Rajendra Singh said “I want to thank all in this world who work for water. Today I make a promise to dedicate the rest of my life to water conservation.”

Mr Singh lives and works in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The results of his work are without equal: in close cooperation with local residents, he and his organization have revived several rivers, brought water and life back to a thousand villages, and given hope to countless people.

“Rajendra Singh has – through water – given people capacity and courage and thereby control over their lives and hope for the future. He has shown that sustainable development – environmental, economic and social – is based on wise water management,” said Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI.

The methods used by Mr Singh are modernizations of ancient Indian ways of collecting and storing rainwater. The methods fell out of use during British colonial rule, but have now brought water back to India’s driest state.

On the significance of the prize, Rajendra Singh said: “I spent the last 31 years with a spade in my hand, down in the earth, but now, this prize give authority to my work.”

August 28, 2015

Uganda: A 2.8 Million USD Sanitation and Water Project Launched Amid Dire Shortages

Adella Mbabazi
August 28, 2015

Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) and WaterAid Uganda (WAU) have partnered to implement a three year water and sanitation project in Bulangira Town in Kibuku District worth one billion Uganda Shillings equivalent to 2.8 million USD.

“Bulangira is a challenged town with minimal infrastructure to support social services and limited access to land for water and sanitation services for the underprivileged. When WaterAid alerted us of this situation, we decided to come in to help deliver proper access to clean safe water through our Water of Life programme,” said Julie Adell-Owino, Representative of the EABL Foundation.

The “Bringing Safe Water and Sanitation” project will be implemented in partnership with Sanitation Solutions Group, Bright Technical Services, Kibuku District Local Government and Bulangira Sub-county. The first phase starts this year with a feasibility study and other start-up activities.

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 main objective of the project is to provide sustainable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation to Bulangira small town residents. The project includes construction of a water scheme, institutional latrines, mobilization of communities on WASH behavioral change, advocacy and measures to improve the management and coordination capacity of the town authority,” said Spera Atuhairwe, Country Representative, WaterAid Uganda.

In a bid to leverage stakeholder participation ownership and eventual sustainability, Uganda Breweries, the EABL Foundation and Water Aid Uganda organised a one-day start up workshop in Bulangira town to launch the project and ensure ownership, leverage support and commitment to various project outputs by partners in line with the donor expectations.

The majority of people in Bulangira have no access to safe water, with water coverage at 62% compared to the 100% Millennium Development Goal target in Uganda for urban and small towns. This has led to the continued use of unsafe water sources such as springs that are highly contaminated. In addition, the sanitation coverage is low; many residents lack convenient private latrines and residents are forced to practice open defecation. The other challenges faced include increase in housing deficit, poor quality informal structures, inadequate services such as solid waste management, and inadequate financing.

Currently, Bulangira town has only one deep borehole and a spring well serving the entire town of 5 villages, which has no functional water supply system. The poor households in the small town buy water from vendors for between UGX 200-500 per 20 litre jerry can, depending on whether the season is wet or dry – which is ten (10) times more expensive than water supplied by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).

In regard to sanitation, residents in Bulangira practice illegal and indiscriminate dumping of solid waste into water sources and small streams hence posing a serious threat to public health and the environment. Construction of latrines by residents is challenged by loose, sandy soil texture, solid rock and a high water table which presents latrine design challenges. All these, coupled with inadequate private sector engagement, poor planning and coordination, exacerbate the water and sanitation problems of Bulangira town.

August 18, 2015

Zambia: Study Finds Shallow Groundwater Unsafe

Water Journalists Africa (WJA)
August 18, 2015

Kabwe is a transport hub and old mining town in central Zambia. One resident, Joseph, recounted how when he was growing up in the town in the 1970s, most houses had a tap and a reliable water supply from the municipal system. Few children in the town now have this luxury; in the 1980’s the world price of copper collapsed and the mines closed. Many of the townspeople could no longer afford their water bills, and the lack of investment led the municipal water system into a spiral of decline.

Today, the town continues to grow, in a haphazard way and sanitation is poor – only 11% of low income households have access to a latrine or toilet. Most of the poorer residents get water from shallow wells, and richer households have given up on the unreliable municipal water system and have their own deeper boreholes. But are these self-supply water sources safe? Does the risk change between the wet season and the dry? Is there a safe distance between latrine and well that would prevent the water from being contaminated? These are just a few questions that hard-pressed local government staff need answers to urgently, but they just can’t get data from enough wells and boreholes during the year.

Poor water quality continues to pose a major threat to human health

Poor water quality continues to pose a major threat to human health

Many types of bacteria found in wastewater and sewage cause diarrhoeal diseases and cholera, which kill 1.8 million people every year, 90% of whom are children under 5 according to the World Health Organisation (www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/factsfigures04/en/ ) . These bacteria are hard to measure directly, so the most common method used is to focus on bacteria, called E. Coli, which is an indicator of how unsafe water is. However, this test takes time, skill and a laboratory because the E. Coli have to be encouraged to grow so that they can be counted. What is urgently needed is a quick, cheap, accurate way of measuring this type of pollution to guide efforts to provide safe drinking water.

An answer may now be available, for Kabwe, and for water supplies all over Africa and beyond: a team, led by Dan Lapworth, from the British Geological Survey (BGS), along with colleagues from the University of Zambia, University of Surrey and Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company Ltd has been collaborating to develop a new way to measure groundwater pollution. It is a new probe that measures a protein called tryptophan and this was the first study to investigate the biological quality in groundwater using this technique.

This research was funded by DFID, NERC and ESRC through the UPGro: Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor programme (http://upgro.org )

What they found in the wells and boreholes of Kabwe was that the amount of tryptophan measured by the probe corresponded very closely with bacteriological contamination. It confirmed that most of the shallow groundwater, which the poorest people in the town were using, was unsafe throughout both the wet and dry season, but that the deeper groundwater is generally free from faecal pollution, unless the borehole had not been sealed properly.

The advantage of the tryptophan probe is that it is quick, needs no special chemicals and cheap, so it can enable rapid surveys across dozens of wells and boreholes across the town, that just isn’t practical with traditional E. Coli testing.

The Principal Investigator, Dan Lapworth: “In a place like Africa where data scarcity and institutional capacity is a massive issue this could quickly provide a step-change in our understanding of spatial and temporal water quality risks in drinking water sources, the processes that control these and be used as a tool to monitor interventions and water quality failures.”

Although the research from the UPGro Catalyst grant has finished, others are taking an interest: the US-based charity, Water for People, asked BGS to trial the probe in rural areas of India undergoing sanitary interventions. Here, the sensor was equally successful at identifying bacteriological contamination in drinking water and the team was able to rapidly test up to 6 different supplies per hour.

Having access to safe water and basic sanitation is vital to everyone's life

Having access to safe water and basic sanitation is vital to everyone’s life

In Kabwe it is now possible for the health risks from groundwater to be monitored, both across the town and over time.

Dan said “There are a number of different sensors available which can map groundwater quality risks – we have done our research on what we think is the most sensitive of these, but there is certainly room for improvement and development of this technology further for practical field based applications.”

As the international community attending the Stockholm World Water Week turns its attention to the new Sustainable Development Goals – which include achieving universal access to safe water – it is practical contributions, like the tryptophan probe that can make all the difference. For the people of Kabwe, it offers the hope that future investment in water and sanitation will deliver reliable and safe water to meet their needs.

James Sorensen, from BGS, said “These sensors were the best indicators of bacteriological contamination and water supplies could be tested within seconds”

August 14, 2015

Zambia to Host World Climate Change Conference

Vwambanji Nakamba
August 14, 2015

Zambia has been awarded the opportunity to become the first African country to host the board meeting of the Worldwide Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Zambia’s Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba says the choice of Zambia as the host of the important gathering of over 300 delegates is in recognition of the country’s positive image in international community.

“I am pleased to announce that Zambia has been awarded the opportunity to become the first African country to host the board meeting of the Worldwide Green Climate Fund (GCF),” Mr. Yamba said.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

He says Zambia being given an opportunity to host the conference was consistent with the policy of government to facilitate job and wealth creation in all spheres of Zambia’s socio-economic endeavour.

Mr. Yamba says the aim of the GCF is to help developing countries reduce emissions and enhance investments in adaptation.

“In this regard, Zambia is expected to share its experience and raise awareness to the world about the impacts of climate change in the country’s regions considered as most vulnerable to climate change,” he said.

Mr. Yamba notes that apart from preparing for the meeting, Zambia was also taking active steps to become one of the first beneficiaries of the Green Climate Fund.

He noted that during the forth-coming meeting to be held in November 2015 in Livingstone, the GCF Board would approve some financing request proposals, just in time for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled for Paris, France towards the end of the year.

Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chairperson IPCC speaking during the opening ceremony of COP20 in Lima

Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chairperson IPCC speaking during the opening ceremony of COP20 in Lima

Mr. Yamba says the GCF is an important avenue for the country to scale up existing initiatives such as the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP), Forest Investment Programme (FIP), Zambia Integrated Landscape Management Project (ZILMP) and the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).

“I am confident about the prospects for wealth creation and sustainable livelihoods embedded in above listed climate change impact mitigation programmes as they all present our citizens, especially the youth, with unmatched job-creation opportunities. If we get our act together, Zambia is definitely able to surpass the 500, 000 [Five-Hundred-Thousand] jobs target announced by President Edgar Lungu during Wednesday’s launch of the Youth Policy and the Action Plan for Youth Empowerment & Employment,” he said.

Mr. Yamba notes that the delegates for the Livingstone 2015 GCF Meeting would comprise GCF board members, observers from civil society, the private sector, and various international organizations

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