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Piloting multiple use water systems in Honduras

Published on: 04/09/2012

Various case studies confirm that multiple-use of water is a common practice in rural communities in Honduras. IRC and FHIS developed a guideline to support consideration for these uses in the design and management of rural water supplies. This guideline was applied in a number of communities in the Department of La Paz in central Honduras.

In rural and peri-urban areas in Honduras, people use their domestic water supply systems for domestic purposes (drinking, cooking, cleaning and hygiene) as well as productive ones. However, in many cases, these productive uses are not planned for, nor regulated. This may result in negative impacts on the performance and sustainability of the rural water supply systems. 

In order to understand better how multiple-use impacts on people livelihoods and on the sustainability of water services, an assessment was carried out of these practices in 14 communities in the central and southern departments of the country. The study concluded that multiple use indeed plays an important role in the economy of many rural households. But, because it is often not well regulated, it can generate problems for the sustainability of services, e.g. where people over-use systems or make unauthorised connections. The study recommends that policy makers recognise that this practice exists and is a relevant one, and that it needs to be anticipated whilst planning water systems. 

In response to these finding, the Rural Infrastructure Project (PIR) of the Honduran Social Investment Fund (FHIS), in collaboration with the multiple-use thematic group of the RASHON, and IRC, started in 2011 a process of piloting the development of new water systems under an approach, focused on multiple use services. This piloting took place in eight communities in MAMCEPAZ (Association of Municipalities of the Centre of the Department of La Paz). To structure the piloting, a guideline for planning and implementation of multiple-use projects was developed and validated. Also, the first experiences with applying this approach were documented. The guideline explains how to consider multiple-use of water in the project cycle and contains a series of tools and methods to plan for the provision of water for all people's water needs.

Below, the guideline is found, as well as the documentation of the first experiences in applying te guideline in MAMCEPAZ. 

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