New Paper in Sustainability

21 02 2017

A new paper by Shyam Ranganathan, Raj GC, and I was recently published in Sustainability. The paper presents a way to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets through a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to rural water delivery.

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Abstract: The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through effective projects and programs. This paper presents a micro-level modeling approach that can quantitatively assess the impacts associated with rural water interventions that are tailored to specific communities. The analysis focuses on how a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to SDG 6 could reinforce a wide range of other SDGs and targets. The multilevel modeling framework provides a generalizable template that can be used in multiple sectors. In this paper, we apply the methodology to a dataset on rural water services from Mozambique to show that community-specific equivalents of macro-level variables used in the literature such as Cost of Illness (COI) avoided can provide a better indication of the impacts of a specific intervention. The proposed modeling framework presents a new frontier for designing projects in any sector that address the specific needs of communities, while also leveraging the knowledge gained from previous projects in any country. The approach also presents a way for agencies and organizations to design projects or programs that bridge sectors/disciplines (water, irrigation, health, energy, economic development, etc.) to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets.

Citation: Hall, R.P.; Ranganathan, S.; G. C., R.K. A General Micro-Level Modeling Approach to Analyzing Interconnected SDGs: Achieving SDG 6 and More through Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS). Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 314.

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Public Health Grand Rounds Seminar – 12pm, Oct 22 (Webcast)

19 10 2015

At 12pm on Thursday, October 22, Sophie Wenzel and I will give a seminar on our research group’s work relating to rural water services planning. We will support the presentation with a story map that can be accessed by clicking on the image below.

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Since the webcast will not enable viewers to ask questions, I have set up a public Google Doc in which viewers can ask questions or provide feedback/comments. We will do our best to respond to these questions at the end of our presentation. If we run out of time, I will post a written response to questions we were unable to address on this blog.

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The MUS-Senegal Trilogy

3 10 2015

Our final paper related to multiple-use water services (MUS) in Senegal was recently published in Water Alternatives. This paper completes our trilogy of papers in which we [1] explore the extent of piped-water-based productive activity occurring in Senegal and how this relates to system performance, [2] study the role of productive water use in women’s livelihoods, and [3] undertake an incremental income-cost (I-C) analysis of whether the theoretical financial benefits to households from additional piped-water-based productive activities would be greater than the estimated system upgrade costs.

These three papers capture the main findings from our study of MUS in Senegal and offer some important empirical research on the emerging concept of MUS.21
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Policy Brief: The Human Right to Domestic and Productive Water

25 08 2015

In 2010, a milestone was reached when the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. Yet, water also plays an important role in realizing other human rights such as the right to food and livelihoods, and in realizing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These broader water-related rights have been recognized but not operationalized. This (draft) policy brief argues for a more holistic interpretation of existing international human rights law that supports a broader range of water-related rights. In addition, it raises the question of whether the current formulation of the human right to safe and clean drinking water, could limit development opportunities for people in rural and peri-urban communities who also use water for productive activities around the homestead.

We would welcome any comments you might have on this policy brief that should be viewed as a working draft.

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MUS Research in Burkina Faso

1 07 2015

On Sunday, our research team – consisting of Emily Van Houweling, Sophie Wenzel, Nicholas Polys, Paige Williams, and I – arrived in Burkina Faso to study the water accounting process developed by Winrock International as part of their Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS) project. Our team will be here for two weeks, during which we will visit project communities and identify opportunities to further advance the water accounting process by drawing on the unique skill set of the research team.

Emily Van Houweling, Sophie Wenzel, Paige Williams, Ralph Hall, and Nicholas Polys

Emily Van Houweling, Sophie Wenzel, Paige Williams, Ralph Hall, and Nicholas Polys

Winrock’s MUS project is one of several funded by the USAID WA-WASH (West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Program. The WA-WASH program focuses on increasing sustainable access to safe water and sanitation and improved hygiene in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger. The program is a complex endeavor that includes some thirteen partners and is led by Florida International University (FIU).

This research expedition was made possible by a grant from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Environment, Culture, and Environment.





New Paper in Water Alternatives on MUS

2 10 2014

The Productive Use of Rural Piped Water in Senegal

Ralph P. Hall, Eric A. Vance, and Emily van Houweling

Abstract: Over the past decade there has been a growing interest in the potential benefits related to the productive use of rural piped water around the homestead. However, there is limited empirical research on the extent to which, and conditions under which, this activity occurs. Using data obtained from a comprehensive study of 47 rural piped water systems in Senegal, this paper reveals the extent of piped-water-based productive activity occurring and identifies important system-level variables associated with this activity. Three-quarters (74%) of the households surveyed depend on water for their livelihoods with around one-half (54%) relying on piped water. High levels of piped-water-based productive activity were found to be associated with shorter distances from a community to a city or paved road (i.e. markets), more capable water system operators and water committees, and communities that contributed to the construction of the piped water system. Further, access to electricity was associated with higher productive incomes from water-based productive activities, highlighting the role that non-water-related inputs have on the extent of productive activities undertaken. Finally, an analysis of the technical performance of piped water systems found no statistically significant association between high vs. low levels of productive activity and system performance; however, a positive relationship was found between system performance and the percentage of households engaged in productive activities.

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New Paper on The Human Right to Water

15 12 2013

ScienceThe Human Right to Water: The Importance of Domestic and Productive Water Rights

Ralph P. Hall, Barbara Van Koppen, Emily Van Houweling

Science and Engineering Ethics

Abstract

The United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights engenders important state commitments to respect, fulfill, and protect a broad range of socio-economic rights. In 2010, a milestone was reached when the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. However, water plays an important role in realizing other human rights such as the right to food and livelihoods, and in realizing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. These broader water-related rights have been recognized but have not yet been operationalized. This paper unravels these broader water-related rights in a more holistic interpretation of existing international human rights law. By focusing on an emerging approach to water services provision—known as ‘domestic-plus’ services—the paper argues how this approach operationalizes a comprehensive range of socio-economic rights in rural and peri-urban areas. Domestic-plus services provide water for domestic and productive uses around homesteads, which challenges the widespread practice in the public sector of planning and designing water infrastructure for a single-use. Evidence is presented to show that people in rural communities are already using their water supplies planned for domestic uses to support a wide range of productive activities. Domestic-plus services recognize and plan for these multiple-uses, while respecting the priority for clean and safe drinking water. The paper concludes that domestic-plus services operationalize the obligation to progressively fulfill a comprehensive range of indivisible socio-economic rights in rural and peri-urban areas.

Download or Read Paper On-line