In reality, water supply systems in developing countries often provide for various needs of the household and community – be they backyard gardening, raising livestock, or even micro-enterprises.

The planning, implementation and management of multiple use water systems can avoid conflict between different uses and users but also generate benefit by increased economic income and poverty reduction.

Rural households across the developing world typically need and use water for livestock, irrigation, home gardens, or other local uses. Formal domestic water services often fail to address these different water needs in an integrated way, and typically focus on either single-use domestic (e.g drinking) or productive services (e.g. irrigation).

Water supply services that incorporate both domestic and productive uses in their design and delivery constitute the core of multiple use water services. Inherent in these services is participatory planning of all stakeholders to avoid conflicts over allocations to different purposes or users.

Investing in multiple use water services at an early stage will enable users to reap short- and long-term benefits, such as better health, food security, savings in time and costs, higher productivity and income, all of which contribute to poverty alleviation.

WSSCC is involved in the Multiple Use Water Services Group, a working group committed to research and advocacy of multiple use water services. Such services are a vital part of integrated water resource management (IWRM) and poverty reduction strategies.

Last updated: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 15:15