Making best use of scarce water resources

Water is fundamental to life on our planet. As the demand for water increases, and climate change places stress on water availability, finding ways to effectively manage water systems has never been more urgent. In Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, WSUP supports the city’s utility, JIRAMA, to reduce water loss and improve water availability for hundreds of thousands of low-income residents.

Blog: June 2019 – The Leak Squad: preserving Antananarivo’s most precious resource


Reducing contamination caused by poor sanitation

Increased frequency of flooding caused by climate change is damaging infrastructure and increasing contamination of water resources. Encouraging low-income residents to empty their pit latrines prior to the rainy season reduces the amount of faecal waste flowing into streets and prevents the spread of diseases.

In Lusaka, WSUP created a toilet database to provide information on when pit latrines need to be emptied, helping city authorities implement climate-resilient measures that prevent the spread of cholera in the event of flooding. In addition, WSUP helps communities to improve the design of toilets so that they are raised from the ground and are less likely to overflow in times of heavy rains.

Data from the Toilet TrackerReport: June 2018 – Mapping sanitation in peri-urban Lusaka: A toilet database

Improving drainage to minimise impacts of flooding

By better managing heavy rainfall in a city, we can avoid the damage to communities caused by floodwater particularly in low-income communities where infrastructure can be weak. In Maputo, we have worked with the city council, CMM, to improve drainage around low-income communities.

Chamanculo sanitation block, MaputoReport: Feb 2018 – An integrated approach to peri-urban sanitation and hygiene in Maputo

Helping cities cope with extreme weather events

As climate change gathers pace, investment in more resilient water and sanitation services is needed to help cities cope with extreme weather events.

The devastating impacts of Cyclone Idai in March 2019 were widespread across five of Mozambique’s eleven provinces, affecting 1.5 million people. The city of Beira was hardest hit, and thousands of families are still struggling to get their lives back together.

In Beira, WSUP is supporting the utility FIPAG, community groups and urban authorities to build stronger and long lasting water and sanitation systems.

Community in Beira, MozambiqueBlog: Sept 2019 – Six months after two deadly cyclones, Mozambique needs more than just rebuilding

Research to support climate resilience

Our research also has a role to play improving climate resilience. A recent study assessed the impact of extending services to low-income communities on city-wide water demand.

Importantly, findings of the study suggested that many thousands of low-income consumers in Nairobi and Accra could benefit from an improved level of service – a yard tap connection – with only a small increase in demand at the city level; in other words, water scarcity is not an excuse for limiting services to low-income communities.

Report: March 2016 – How do improved services to slum areas impact water demand at the city level?