Monday, 9 July 2018

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) intervention in Response, Reconstruction and Recovery

In responding to disaster affected people accountability to affected people demands respect of core humanitarian standards. WASH standards clearly outline the guidance for assessing the needs of disaster affected people. “WASH needs of the affected population are met and users are involved in the design, management and maintenance of the facilities where appropriate.” Core Standard 3 on WASH elucidates; “The priority needs of the disaster-affected population are identified through a systematic assessment of the context, risks to life with dignity and the capacity of the affected people and relevant authorities to respond.”

For full story follow the link below,

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Reaching the Vulnerable in Post Disaster Reconstruction

From our Project Rehabilitation of facilities to earthquake affected people (REAP), we realized vulnerable population the elderly people, single men-women, orphans with less economic capacities, are more prone to observe the housing grants. They are unable to build their house on their own, unable to extend physical and financial contribution in the reconstruction of their own house. This brings another dilemma the construction groups (mercenary construction groups) do not trust such vulnerable groups, as a result they remain to start reconstructing their house and unable to access the government housing grants without any progress of the house reconstruction.

The level of scientific and engineering research does indicate that resilience is not only due to materials one chose, it’s the technology and engineering codes to be followed. Many engineers focusing on earthquake safety strive to use local materials, however the Nepali case appeared bit different, the engineers learn modern construction materials and try to apply without much innovation on use of local materials, it was evident from the catalogue of house designs distributed by DUDBC after the 2015 earthquake. The social stigma (elite and rich opting for modern construction materials) and officials recommending for modern construction materials through different catalogues brings another negative fold in rural Nepali housing. The use of traditional materials (wood and stone) and traditional architecture that were the part of rural houses are being replaced by concrete, turning the serenity to concrete jungles which was not the case prior to 2015 earthquake. Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal for 2014/2015 indicates 40.6% of houses in the country constructed were out of stone and wood. 
 For full story please follow the link,

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Water Use Master Plan + Recharge, Retention and Reuse - ( WUMP+3R) Facilitator's Manual

 In many areas of the world, people experience periods of water scarcity even though there is enough rainfall and run-off on an annual basis. At moments when water is plentiful, often a large portion of it disappears unused through floods, surface run-off, and evaporation. Nepal, despite being one of the most water-abundant countries in the world with over 6,000 rivers, is experiencing severe water challenges hampering both economic development and poverty alleviation. Nearly 85 per cent of the country’s annual rainfall occurs during the monsoon months, from June to September. This means there is an overabundance of water during these months and a shortage outside of this period. Better water buffer management is needed to avoid localized scarcity and prepare for future climate change shocks and increased climate variability. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, MetaMeta and Aidenvironment have developed a WUMP + 3R approach. WUMP + 3R builds on the Water Use Master Plan (WUMP) approach, developed and implemented by the Water Resource Management Programme of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, and on the concept of 3R (retention, recharge, and reuse), as developed by the 3R consortium (including Aidenvironment and MetaMeta). The objective of the WUMP + 3R approach is to mainstream the issues of recharge, retention, and reuse in operational and inclusive water use planning in Nepal for climate change adaptation and enhanced water resource management. The approach is developed for implementation at the village development committee (VDC) level, which is the lowest administrative unit of the Government of Nepal. An average VDC has about 5,000 inhabitants in an area of about 35 km2 . However, both area and population vary greatly across ecological regions and districts. The WUMP + 3R approach emphasizes low-cost and small-scale water conservation and inclusive management solutions that can be implemented at the local level. It envisions giving women and men from all walks of life and disadvantaged communities the means and confidence to protect their livelihoods in response to climatic changes, and to improve local water management to ensure reliable and sustained access to water, economic development, and environmental integrity. This document is prepared as a Training Manual for WUMP + 3R facilitators who facilitate the inclusive WUMP + 3R process in the field. The focus of the manual is on developing the knowledge and skills necessary for a facilitator. This manual also provides links to the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary for trainers who train the facilitators.
Follow the link for the manual;

Practicing IWRM at Local Level - implementation of Water Use Master Plan

Since the coining of Integrated Water Resources Management ( IWRM), almost all definitions of IWRM stress three “E” s (Efciency, Equity and Ecological integrity) principles aiming to improve efficiency in water use (economic efficiency), promote equity in access to water (creating just situation , social or developmental rationale) and to achieve ecology integrity (sustainability and the environmental rationale).
There is emerging consensus that Integrated Water resources management requires an integrated and participatory approach. In terms of water allocation, basic human needs should receive priority; other uses should be prioritized according to societal needs and socioeconomic criteria.
However, there has been lots of debates about its true application at the local level. The three E’s principle has been contested at different scales.
Follow the article from link;

KEEP it Local- Dilemma in Reconstruction of Shelter-Post disaster

It's not the violent shaking of the ground itself that claims the most victims, but the collapse of poorly constructed buildings. The earthquake sequence destroyed 490,000 houses, mostly traditional mud-brick and mud-stone houses built and occupied by the rural poor.
" The largest single need identified in the PDNA was for “housing and human settlements”: 755,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. "
Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal for 2014/2015 indicates 40.6% of houses in the country constructed are out of stone and wood. Many engineers focusing on earthquake safety strive to use local materials, however the Nepali case appeared bit different, the engineers learn modern construction materials and try to apply without much innovation on use of local materials, it was evident from the catalog of house designs distributed by DUDBC after the 2015 earthquake. 
However, we have used the local materials (stone and wood) in the permanent house reconstruction improving the flaws identified.

Foundation: The foundations of the stone houses were shallow less than 3 feet depth. The project proposed and adapted foundation at least of 3 feet depth with bonding to superstructure.
Corner walls: The stones used in corner walls were of not of regular shape, this was one the reasons of corner walls toppling leading the toppling of walls and the house. The project focused on strengthening corner walls by using good stones and tying with wooden vertical posts bonded with wooden horizontal bands.

Through stone: Through stone placed at the regular intervals in the walls act as a binder to wall, this was missing in the old stone houses. Project introduced use of through stones at regular intervals in the walls of the houses reconstructed.

Lack of bonding: The stone house walls were not bonded with combination of horizontal and vertical bands. The project introduced wooden horizontal and vertical bands. Plus, the window and door opening spacing was adjusted in compliance to the national building codes.

Gabble walls: Gable walls were of stone and not bonded with the walls and roofs, most of the houses toppled from gable walls. The project replaced stone gable walls with light material, corrugated galvanized iron sheet and for some houses wood tied to walls and roofs.

 Wood Treatment: In the rural context wood are painted and some times coated with lube oil ( mobil) to protect them from termites. Smoky kitchens used to be another protection of wood inside the house and natural seasoning (use of stack wood) were the practices. Proper treatment of wood was lacking.
Wood is a natural organic material and as such, can be degraded by biological organisms: bacteria, fungi (rot) and insects (woodworms and termites). Wood is also vulnerable to direct sun light and moisture, which affect its durability and increase the rotting process. Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate (Na2B8O13·4H2O) DOT . Boron-based compounds for wood treatment were developed in New Zealand and Australia in the 1930s and became commercialized in 1949. Over nearly 70 years borate mineral has been used worldwide proving its efficiency as wood treatment. 
DOT is a water-soluble solution that can easily penetrate dry and wet wood. It takes advantage of the moisture content in the wood to penetrate deeper. For fresh cut timber, where the moisture content can be 35% or higher by weight, the DOT solution penetrates timber logs more completely and faster. DOT is known to be an effective, eco-friendly and low-cost remedy for killing rot organisms and wood-destroying insects in infested wood and preventing its recurrence.
The project introduced the DOT for the wood treatment in its housing component. Boric Acid and Borax was prepared at sites of each house reconstruction following the standard mixes. The woods to be treated are dipped in the solution for diffusion effect. People used the local wood species of Chilaune, Salla, Uttis, Lapsi and Sal. One of the advantage of DoT wood treatment is that even fresh cut woods can be treated with moisture content of 30 to 40 percent and dried wood could be dipped in water for about and hour before immersing into Borax and Boric solution.
Use of local materials in reconstruction has created awareness among local people that the salvaged material can be used for reconstruction, this also reduces financial burden of house owners. (560 Individual Houses are built)

However, 2335 Households surveyed to identify the type of technical assistance need- in housing revealed the housing interest were of concrete not of stone and wood.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A Case Story on the webpage of  HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal

Water Use Master Plan a management instrument

The Local Self-Governance Act 1999 and regulation provide a framework for local development and the legal framework has envisaged the Village Development Committee to coordinate local development planning and effective implementation of development activities. The underpinning of the devolution of governance to Village Development Committee is to augment participatory planning and decision making to improve local infrastructure and delivery of quality public services.
The democratically elected Village Development Committee is the lowest government institution and a primary institution to conduct the development activities and is responsible to produce periodic and annual development plans. However, since 2002 Village Development Committees are vacant with the democratically elected members’ means that they rely heavily on the secretaries appointed by the government. United Nation Development Programme, 2009 in its Assessment of Village Development Committee Governance and the Use of Block Grants explains “secretaries are over-burdened and most lack facilities and staff to assist them” (Inlogos, 2009).

The United Nation Development Programme, 2009 study indicates most of the Village Development Committees “carried out planning and project prioritisation in a haphazard way” participatory planning was by- passed and beneficiaries were the silent observers. The Village Development Committees were conducting planning by “only making public their annual budgets and programmes and no other important decisions”.
Bharat Karki, a teacher and resident of Mahankal -1 recalls the past village development committee planning “group of people used to demonstrate political power and weapon power to threaten their own local people for the allocation of budget in the interest of particular group without considering the real needs of others” he himself bullied during the council with backing from his group members just to allocate Fifty thousand rupees for water irrigation scheme in his community. He realizes the pity of such huge energy that was wasted to obtain so less resource.
Local institutions follow planning process; however they are elucidated as weak institutions for different reasons: i) No elected Village Development Committee, ii) Usurp of power by strong community leaders, lack of transparency and accountability, iii) Lacks to ensure consultative and transformative mode of participation.
External support to village development committee and Local Water Use Master Plan

To strengthen the role of local institutions and augment sustainable development external agencies (both government and non-government) are supporting local institutions through different projects; in an integrated planning approach or standalone project approach.
Water Resources Management Programme of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Nepal and Rural Water Resources Management Programme supported by Government of Finland have been supporting Village Development Committee in an integrated approach for water planning. Participatory Local water use master plan process is used to bring the water priorities of locals of a concerned Village Development Committee. Both the projects support the concerned Village Development Committee for the realization of priorities of Water Use Master Plan.
“Building Effective Water Governance in Asian Highlands” a research project up scaled the concept of local Water Use Master Plan in a bit different way in four Village Development Committees of Melamchi watershed. The difference refers; the project supports local water use master plan as a management instrument for the local institution but it does not support for the realization of priorities of Water Use Master Plan.
Climate change and hydrological information from scientific community and local resource information from locals are deemed essential for dialogue on adaptation and water resources management. The goal of Building effective water governance research project in Melamchi watershed is to move beyond the sharing of data and knowledge on climate change impacts on water resources to building greater appreciation for the interests that different stakeholders hold. It envisions the concept of prioritizing water needs and adaptation to adverse impact of climate change builds on enough information required for participatory decision making. Information (scientific and local) enhances institution (Dialogue, negotiation, equity principles) building. Strengthened institutional capacities will augment better management of resources for the livelihood improvements which will lead to better governance. The project implemented series of dialogues at local level with the aim to assist local communities to develop local water management plan. It also conducted another model of dialogue focused on school children and teachers with the aim to increase literacy on climate change and water management through classroom materials, and video materials development.
Melamchi Watershed
Melamchi watershed embraces eight Village Development Committees in its catchment and promises to endure the thirst of 2.5 million people of Kathmandu Valley. Inter basin water transfer of 170,000 M3 /day (Bhattarai, Pant, & Molden, 2002) or 170 million litres per day water out of the Melamchi River to Kathmandu city is the planned diversion of water of Melamchi water supply project. The water transfer project will impose almost nil survival threat in drinking requirements of the watershed community. It would benefit city people and the opportunity cost of diversion would be mostly borne by rural community (Bhattarai et al., 2002) of Melamchi watershed. The resettlement action plan, social upliftment programme and environment management plan brought by the water transfer project does indicate compensation to rural community somehow in line to compensate the locals of Melamchi watershed.
Mahankal Village Development Committee and Water Use Master Plan
Out of eight Village Development Committees of Melamchi watershed Mahankal Village Development Committee is one of them. Besides the Village Development Committee, the social upliftment programme of the Melamchi water supply project is active to support the locals of Mahankal Village Development Committee. The Village Development Committee completed its Water Use Master Plan process in December 2013. However, the research project did not supported for the realization of priorities of Water Use Master Plan and faced complaints and criticisms from the locals; for only advocating owning and marketing the water use master plan as a tool to attract fund for the realization of priorities.
The scenario changed once the Water Use Master Plan helped the Village Development Committee to build consensus on allocation of acquired budget from the central government.

“We were convinced that water use master plan could be fruitful in managing the resources in equitable and efficient way once we were successful to settle the conflicts and disputes on the allocation of 27 million rupees acquired from the central government in May 2014, this decision enabled us to receive the first instalment of 0.8 million rupees and the work is in progress to implement the first priority of drinking water project. Water use master plan has helped to secure the implementation of priorities of poor and marginalised groups that came in the planning process” Binod Khadka, secretary; Mahankal Village Development Committee.
Bharat Karki the same person who recalls bullying in the council explains” All actors in the Village Development Committee agreed to implement the project as directed by the Water Use Master Plan. We observed in Water Use Master Plan document that Chitre and Pipse of ward-4 are the most deprived communities for water supply, so we selected it as first site for implementation; as a result water collection tank has already been completed with the first instalment received.”

The planning process of water use master plan is backed by gender equality and social inclusion (Rautanen & White, 2013). Locals are the best knowledgeable on their problems, the Mahankal case indicates scientific information helps the local to visualise their local problems from different perspectives. Information allowed avoiding positioning, bringing interest augmenting integrative negotiation in the dialogue process. The Water Use Master Plan process supported to assume the roles and responsibilities of individuals, political groups, Village Development Committee; this creates accountability among each other which in turn helps to solve local problems. Communities address certain problems (Bowles & Gintis, 2002) which is difficult to handle by markets and governments or individuals acting alone; thus communities are part of good governance. Ensuring Participation reduces the dependency (Van Koppen, Rojas, & Skielboe, 2012), this is very true in the Mahankal case as the Village Development Committee is not dependent on support organization to realise the priorities of its Water Use Master Plan , this has also addressed a problem of project failure beyond project duration. A self-mechanism establishment is underway heading better governance in the water sector.

Contributor: Bikram Rana

2015 Publications

Publications 2015

Water Use Master Plan +3R Facilitator’s Manual.

Grumbine, R.E.; Nizami, A.; Rana Tharu, B.; Salim, M.A.; Xu, J.C. 2015. Mobilizing Hybrid Knowledge for More Effective Water Governance in the Asian Highland ICRAF Working Paper 197. World Agroforestry Centre East and Central Asia, Kunming China. 20 pp. 

Grumbine, R.E.; Nizami, A.; Rana Tharu, B.; Niraula, R.; Su, Y.; Xu, J.C. 2015. Water Governance in the Asian Highlands. ICRAF Working Paper 198. World Agroforestry Centre East and Central Asia, Kunming, China. 25 pp. DOI: