Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS)


Assessing the Link between Productive use of Domestic Water, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainability

Role: Co-PI with Prof. Jennifer Davis at Stanford University.

Client: Water and Sanitation Program, World Bank.

The objective of this research was to explore the extent to which, and conditions under which, the productive use of domestic water can reduce poverty, enhance the financial sustainability of water services, and advance important social goals such as gender equality. Productive activities include gardening, agriculture, the raising of livestock, commerce, services, and manufacturing (such as the making of bricks or soap). The research has involved fieldwork in approximately 50 rural communities in Colombia, Kenya, and Senegal (147 communities in total), and includes household surveys (around 1,850 in each country), focus groups, water committee interviews, water operator surveys, and engineering assessments of installed water supply infrastructure.

The main research questions pursued in the study are:

  1. What types of productive uses of domestic piped water do households in the three study countries undertake? Under what conditions are such activities more likely to occur?
  2. Who benefits when rural water systems are used for productive purposes? To what extent are benefits generated by productive use captured by lower-income households and by women?
  3. What evidence exists regarding the financial sustainability of systems used for productive purposes as compared to those used for basic needs (drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing) only?
  4. What are the incremental costs and expected benefits (in terms of income generation) of upgrading existing rural water supply systems to ones that can supply sufficient water for productive uses in the three study countries?

The research results have been captured in the following publications:

  • Van Houweling, E.; Hall, R.P.; Sakho Diop, A.; Davis, J. and Seiss, M. (2012) The role of productive water use in women’s livelihoods: Evidence from rural Senegal.Water Alternatives 5(3): 658-677.
  • Hall, R. P., Van Houweling, E., Vance, E., Hope, R., and Davis, J. (2011) “Assessing the Link between Productive use of Domestic Water, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainability. Senegal Country Report.” Submitted to the Water and Sanitation Program, World Bank, September 9, 2011, pages 95.
  • Davis, J., Hall, R. P., Hope, R., Marks, S., and Van Houweling, E. (2011) “Assessing the Link between Productive use of Domestic Water, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainability. Synthesis Report.” Submitted to the Water and Sanitation Program, World Bank, September 9, 2011, pages 35.

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