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Newsletter No. 30
February 2017
Ensuring people have the water they need for healthy, productive lives.
In this newsletter we look back at last year’s progress of MUS projects, conferences and publications across the world; we welcome Catholic Relief Services as the new core member; and announce events in 2017. The year is starting with the launch of a renewed and updated website of the MUS Group, as IRC arranged. Thank you, IRC! An upcoming event is the follow-up of the International MUS Conference that was held a year ago in Kathmandu, Nepal . The MUS approach has been integrated into Nepal’s Climate Change Adaptation efforts/Local Adaptation Plans for Action, and a variety of studies have been conducted by IDE, IWMI and others. This and other partners’ progress will be presented in Kathmandu at the MUS Review Meeting on 10 April; and will be further presented and discussed during the 7th Seminar on Farmer Managed irrigation Systems, organized by core member the Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Trust. As coordinator and secretary, we are exploring options for a next face-to-face meeting of the MUS Group. Enjoy the read!
Nepal MUS Review meeting (10 April) and 7th Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems (FMIS) Seminar (11-12 April), Kathmandu
As a follow-up of the International Conference on MUS in Kathmandu, February 2016, hosted by IDE, FMIS, IWMI, the MUS Group and the Government of Nepal, a MUS Review Meeting will take place on 10 April to take stock of MUS-related initiatives during the past year. This meeting will precede the 7th FMIS Seminar on 11-12 April, organized by core member Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Trust. As in the announcement (link to attachment), the theme of the FMIS seminar is ‘Irrigation in local adaptation and resilience’. This includes the assessment of climate change impacts for the right environmental, technical, economic, financial and institutional innovations for adaptations of irrigation systems. On 11 April, one seminar session will focus specifically on MUS.  Please, if you are interested to attend the MUS Review Meeting (10 April) contact Luke Colavito at And if you are interested to submit a paper for the MUS Session on 11 April (and/or any other session) of the 7th FMIS Seminar on 11-12 April, please submit the abstract latest by end February, to Prachanda Pradhan at .
» Read More
The MUS Group’s site has been renewed
The MUS Group’s website has been renewed. It has moved to a new content management system. That should provide you, as users, a better search functionality – and gives us, as web managers, an easier job in uploading and curating information on the site. We have kept most of the structure of the site as it was, so you can easily locate your favourite type of information on MUS. We have also used this as an opportunity to update the look-and-feel of the site. We hope you like it. But above all, we hope you will keep on sharing relevant resources on MUS that can be added to the site
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CRS joins the MUS Group as core member
CRS (Catholic Relief Services) joined the MUS Group as core member. CRS is an organization that continually seeks to help those most in need, providing assistance on the basis of need, without regard to race, creed or nationality. Water development, especially community-based water supply and sanitation, has been an essential component of CRS programs for more than fifty years.  The CRS water sector aligns with the three strategic priority areas of the organization: water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for health and well-being, water for agricultural productivity, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for emergency response.
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Livelihoods from Enhanced water Access for the Poor in Slums (LEAPS) in Uganda
A new action research project, called LEAPS, is starting in Uganda. This project will support poor and vulnerable households in slums to exploit their basic water services for productive uses and improve their household incomes. The project adopts the Multiple Water Use Services (MUS) approach which takes people’s multiple needs for water as a starting point, moving beyond the conventional separation of water for domestic versus productive uses. Examples of productive uses of water and small-scale entrepreneurship include farming, poultry farms, fisheries, hatcheries, laundry services, beer brewing and distillation, shear butter extraction, drink dispensing, and block moulding. The MUS approach has been successfully and extensively applied to improve livelihoods for rural and peri-urban communities. LEAPS will now develop and test a MUS framework for more challenging slum environments, using Kampala’s slums in Uganda as a case study. The MUS framework will be suitable for widespread application in low-income, high-density settlements in cities of developing countries. This project is one of twelve Catalyst Projects funded through the REACH Partnership Funding.
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“Rural water systems for multiple uses and livelihood security” - a book review
The book "Rural water systems for multiple uses and livelihood security", (edited by M. Dinesh Kumar, A. J. James and Yusuf Kabir, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2016, 322 pp) makes the evidence-based case for improved water management in rural India, which includes:  first, multiple-use water systems (MUWS) to meet domestic and productive needs; second, an in-depth understanding of surface and groundwater resources variabilities, interactions and quality; third, technical designs, policies and institutions that combine the increasingly popular low-cost community-based schemes with larger- scale cost-effective schemes, for example to meet domestic water needs in areas with groundwater pollution; and, fourth water allocation policies and institutions at the appropriate watershed scales. The positive macro-level relationships that were found between the sustainable water use index, human development index and equitable economic growth across the world, justify investments in this agenda. Above all, this agenda acknowledges the unmet water needs for livelihood security of the farming majority, in addition to domestic water needs.

Moving beyond theories, the book’s 12 chapters present rigorous empirical analysis of the many relevant geo-hydrological, climatic, technical, social, economic, institutional and policy dimensions. Implicitly it gives many answers to the question ‘what is in it for me?’ forof policy makers, local government at all levels, officials from WASH and irrigation line agencies and NGOs.

Hydrological discussions focus, for example, on the problem of groundwater overdraft and pollution by irrigators depriving people from water for domestic uses and forcing them to buy from expensive tankers. Other examples are the importance of irrigation canals for groundwater recharge, and the need for multi-year buffers. Technical design analysis discusses the retrofitting of single-use designed domestic water supplies to MUWS (requiring much higher design criteria than in current policiesy) and of irrigation schemes into MUWS, and on – already multiple-use - village tanks, all in their very specific local conditions. Institutional analysis builds on insights from the WASH sub-sector, comparing community-based scheme sustainability with larger-scale supplies. It also calls for watershed-scale allocation, for example by setting bulk water abstraction limits along streams; and, last but not least, the challenges of making politicians, bureaucrats, NGOs and communities work together. 

In a surprising twist away from the book’s strong focus on scientific evidence, A.J. James is perhaps even more convincing by his chapter ‘re-imagining the future’. In his fictional newspaper account in 2025, the book’s and others’ solutions have all been realized!
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Multiple-Use Water Services: Toward a Nutrition-Sensitive Approach
With emerging evidence suggesting that stunting cannot be addressed without also focusing on WASH, the SPRING (Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally) project wanted to better understand current WASH and water strategies that sought to bridge agriculture and health to reduce undernutrition at the community, farm, and household level. A key element of that review focused on MUS. Through document reviews and interviews with six key organizations implementing MUS, SPRING found several promising practices currently being assessed and undertaken by the surveyed organizations. SPRING believes MUS has the potential to contribute nutrition outcomes, as it provides two necessary components:
  • Opportunity for water to improve health through the provision of safe drinking water; and,
  • Availability of water for agricultural purposes, resulting in increased food production and agricultural income.
In addition, many MUS systems are community-managed, and can provide opportunities for community organization and women’s empowerment, an essential step toward improved nutrition.
SPRING also identified several areas that could be improved or expanded to make the MUS approach more nutrition-sensitive. It is clear that the potential impact of MUS on nutrition is recognized across most MUS activities, and each activity that SPRING features in this report did plan and program additional nutrition-sensitive or nutrition-specific interventions to support such outcomes. However, measurement was often inadequate to be able to determine the contribution that MUS made to these metrics. In order to take full advantage of MUS towards improving nutrition outcomes, additional nutrition-related programming and a commitment to measurement is necessary.
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Multiple Use Services (MUS) of Water in WaterAid West Africa; Understanding the practices, exploring the opportunities
This document explores examples where WaterAid-supported services have been designed to accommodate multiple uses. It provides background on why people use water for multiple purposes, the technologies used, techniques that address sustainability concerns and opportunities for scaling up MUS in WaterAid supported programmes.
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IDE Nepal’s MUS work of the Market Access and Water Technologies for Women
The Market Access and Water Technologies (MAWTW, 2013 - 2016) project piloted the commercial pocket approach to commercialize smallholder agriculture with a focus on involving and empowering women. The approach involved working with communities, the private sector and government to facilitate sufficient volume of production in three of the poorest districts in Nepal. The project included a strong focus on marketing water technologies - drip irrigation, micro sprinklers, shallow tube wells (in the plains) and multiple use water systems (MUS) - that save labour, increase production, and enable production in the dry season. These technologies greatly reduced the workload of women and girls that carry water. More than 9,000 women were helped to become commercial farmers (93 percent of MAWTW farmers) with an increase in annual vegetable income of US$ 205. Forty women have become entrepreneurs marketing agricultural inputs or produce, and 85 women are members of marketing and planning committees that manage collection centres. Around 292 women hold key management roles. A blog gives more details on the project and this video shows the impact it has on the women in the area.
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Multiple uses of small reservoirs in crop-livestock agro-ecosystems of the Volta River Basin with an emphasis on livestock management
Small reservoirs are structures that capture and store runoff at catchment level. The surface area of majority of these reservoirs ranges from 3 to 30 ha. In Burkina Faso, a small reservoir is defined by the height of the dam, which should be below 10 m. They have multiple uses: irrigation during dry spells, fishing, livestock watering, domestic use and groundwater recharge through increased infiltration. Although one of the major uses of small reservoirs in the Volta River Basin is for livestock watering, there is limited information, if any, on how livestock management practices affect this use. This study was conducted in communities using five small reservoirs (Bagyalgo, Soumyalga, Goinre, Ninighi and Thiou) in Yatenga Province of Burkina Faso in the Volta River Basin. The aim of the study was to document the multiple uses of small reservoirs in the study sites with an emphasis on access to, and use by, livestock, and conflicts that arise over the use of these reservoirs. Specifically, the objectives of this study are to: (i) document the multiple uses of small reservoirs with a focus on how livestock management practices affect this use; and (ii) identify the proximate and long-term causes of livestock-related conflicts with regard to multiple uses of small reservoirs and strategies to manage them. The results of this study have confirmed the commonly reported trend of the increasing use of the small reservoirs for vegetable production, even though most of the small reservoirs were initially constructed for livestock watering. The competition for use of these small reservoirs for vegetable production and livestock watering is the main challenge to the management of these reservoirs in the study sites. Adult males and boys accounted for at least 60% of the users of small reservoirs in this study. Livestock watering was carried out mainly by adult males and boys, whereas the use of small reservoirs for domestic purposes was dominated by adult females and girls. In addition to the provision of water for livestock, small reservoirs also contributed to supplying feed resources for livestock by providing green forage in the dry season, which accounted for at least 5% of the total dry matter feed. None of the five small reservoirs in the study were used for fodder production. Increased competition over the use of small reservoirs, damage caused by livestock to irrigated crops and vegetables, and an increased number of livestock using the small reservoirs were ranked as the most important causes of conflict. However, most cases of conflict over the use of the small reservoirs were resolved at the community level. Peaceful coexistence in the use of the small reservoirs for vegetable production and livestock watering is essential for reducing the incidence of conflict, and this will require engagement of key stakeholders such as vegetable growers’ associations and livestock keepers’ associations. .
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Measuring the impact of multiple-use water services in Tanzania and Burkina Faso: water service quality, nutrition, and health
From 29th of Nov till the 1st of December the 7th Rural Water Supply Network Forum was held in Abidjan. During this Forum, one of the topics discussed was the understanding of the type of demand that rural people have for water use, making extensive reference to the issue of multiple-use water services.

This discussion included also the following paper on the impact of multiple-use water services in Tanzania and Burkina Faso by Sarah Marks et al; Multiple-use water services (MUS) is an integrated service delivery approach that takes into account  households' full range of water needs. Past studies have shown the benefits of MUS in terms of enhancing income and livelihoods diversification. However, little is known about whether MUS is associated with improved health, nutrition, or water service quality. We used a matched control design dietary diversity among rural households receiving MUS through two large-scale water supply programs in Burkina Faso and Tanzania. Data was collected from 2,704 households representing five MUS typologies and a control group. Key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and water quality testing were also conducted. Comparisons across different MUS household typologies and the control group reveal a consistent positive trend regarding the benefits of MUS one to four years after project implementation. Households receiving MUS have experienced fewer injuries, enhanced food security, and use more reliable and safe water sources. These results contribute to a growing global evidence base regarding the variety of benefits associated with higher levels of water services in rural communities.
» Read More
Interested in joining the MUS Group? Check out the MUS Group website for more details or contact Stef Smits (secretary) or Barbara van Koppen (coordinator).

Have MUS-related news? Share it here and on the MUS Group website. Send your stories, announcements, publications to Stef Smits.

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This newsletter is distributed by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre on behalf of the MUS Group.

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