|Addressing health through multiple use water services
|Year of Publication
|International symposium on MUS
Multiple use water services can bring more health benefits than separate water supplies for domestic and productive uses – if health is explicitly and properly addressed. That means that in the planning phase due attention has to be given to adequate water allocation for various purposes as well as to providing safe sanitation and offering complementary health and hygiene education. These elements can also be useful in step-wise upgrading single purpose systems to multiple use water services. Sufficient water of good quality is needed for drinking water and hygiene. If the system cannot supply adequate water quality, then additional facilities such as home water treatment can be a good solution, provided the users understand and can operate the treatment themselves. The (re-) use of water for home gardens with a variety of vegetables and fruits is important for balanced nutrition. Proper design, construction, operation and maintenance of water systems can avoid the creation of breeding sites for vectors of diseases such as malaria mosquitoes and schistosomiasis snails. Environmental sanitation, including construction and safe use of latrines, but also protection of water resources from pollution by runoff and animals, reduces the demand for water treatment as well as risks of water use (exposure to pathogens and toxic chemicals) for productive and domestic purposes. Upgrading of water services often reduces water collection efforts for women and children, leading to a whole range of additional socio-economic benefits that in turn may bring health benefits, while poverty reduction in itself also leads to improved health.