Sustainable Village Water Systems

“A single clean water source has a ripple effect within a community, positively impacting health and well-being for generations to come.”

The Situation

In Tanzania 27 million people lack access to clean water (approximately one in two residents). There are an estimated 46,000 failed rural water points, with 20 percent not functional within one year of construction. Reasons for these failures are many and include lack of community buy-in, low community management capacity, and insufficient finances for maintenance and repairs. Historically, donor-funded projects have added to the problem by using short-term success metrics (e.g. number of wells installed) rather than long-term outcome measures (e.g. number of operational days per year per well). Clean water scarcity negatively affects every aspect of human potential beginning with health and nutrition (51% of children under 5 in rural Tanzania are stunted due to chronic malnutrition) and extending to educational achievements and economic prosperity. Development models that focus on long-term sustainable outcomes are desperately needed to reverse this trend and to ensure investments are making impacts long after a well is installed.

The Solution

The Global Water Institute has developed the Sustainable Village Water Systems (SVWS) model for rural development. The SVWS model operates at the nexus of water and energy (solar-powered water systems), food (agricultural extension), and health (sanitation and hygiene at schools and clinics) to provide long-term, sustainable development impacts. The model was implemented in two pilot villages, Ghalunyangu and Mughanga. As a result of the SVWS project, school attendance has increased due to healthier children and water access at schools. Significantly, the percentage of people reporting severe food insecurity decreased from 86% to 7% as a result of agricultural training programs with GWI’s partner organizations, Trees for the Future and BM Farm Africa.

Crowds from Ghalunyangu Village gather for the First Water event to celebrate clean water. Drill rigs and pump trucks are on site for demonstrations.

To learn more about Sustainable Village Water Systems, check out the fact sheet.