How can we adapt the life-cycle costs approach for rural water supply in fragile states? What the DRC WASH Consortium has done so farPosted: July 14, 2015
The DRC WASH Consortium, a programme of five international NGOs led by Concern Worldwide, has made the use of the life-cycle costs approach a central part of our approach to rural water supply. In February 2014, we organised the first workshops on life-cycle costs in DRC for over 50 participants from the sector with the support of IRC WASH. We developed a tool to facilitate the estimation of life-cycle costs and the ability of communities to cover these costs, based on an adaptation of a tool from the Global Water Initiative. In December 2014, the Consortium organised another sector workshop with over 60 participants on how to consider users as ‘clients’ not ‘beneficiaries’.
So far in 2015 we have conducted research on how to improve financial planning tools for use by communities and local health services, not just by NGOs (training modules on this will be available very soon). We have also started research on alternative solutions (such as household water treatment) in villages where a community water point is not viable. And last week, in July 2015, we organized our biggest workshop yet, with over 70 people discussing “How to make sustainable investments in the rural WASH sector in DRC?”
I will be at the WEDC Conference at Loughborough University in the UK from 27-31 July to present more on all this and the key lessons so far. A taster slide – on how we use life-cycle costs estimates to aid decision-making – is above and the abstract is below. I’ll aim to post more while at the conference and the full paper will be available afterwards. Do come along to find out more and discuss what we can do next to try to promote more sustainable WASH services in fragile states. Abstract:
Investments in rural water infrastructure in DRC are generally made without good information on what financing and technical support is required in the long term for the infrastructure to provide a sustainable service to the users. Given the under-developed policies and local government structures for water supply, the responsibility for organising and financing long-term operation, maintenance, and minor and major repairs is left to the users by default, usually through community-based water management committees. The DRC WASH Consortium is trying to address this issue by adapting the life-cycle costs approach (LCCA) to permit informed investment decisions by local actors which are based on an analysis of long-term economic, technical/environmental and social/institutional feasibility. This paper explains how the Consortium has developed this approach so far, the lessons learned, and recommendations for other WASH sector actors implementing the life-cycle costs approach.