WSUP is focused on building stronger, more resilient water and sanitation services which are better able to withstand extreme weather events caused by climate change.
Improving resilience means developing adaptive capacities to help prepare and respond to negative impacts. In the water sector, this can include making efficient use of water resources to prevent water scarcity. For sanitation, flood-proof toilets are essential, while actions for hygiene involves awareness-raising on health risks.
Our work is aimed not just at improving the design and effectiveness of infrastructure, but also supporting institutional change to improve resilience of low-income communities.
By better managing heavy rainfall in a city, we can avoid the damage that floodwater can bring to communities, particularly low-income communities where infrastructure can be weak. In Maputo, we have worked with the city council CMM to improve drainage around the low-income communities.
Flood resistant toilets
In areas where the water table is high, heavy rains can very quickly lead to flooding. We have responded to this challenge by improving the design of infrastructure, so that toilets are raised up from the ground and hence the pits are less likely to flood, and improving procedures so that households are particularly encourage to empty near-full pits prior to the wet season.
Reducing non-revenue water
As rainfall becomes less frequent in some areas, utilities need to place greater emphasis on efficiently using the water they have. A vital way in which they can do this is by focusing on reducing non-revenue water – water losses from leaking pipes, commercial losses such as malfunctioning meters that charge households too little, and even theft (illegal connections to the water network, for example). The process of reducing non-revenue water also involves regular maintenance and repairs of broken pipes, thereby ensuring infrastructure is more resistant to potential shocks.
WSUP has worked on this challenge in all the countries where we operate. As an example, our work with the utility in Madagascar has led to an estimated saving of three million cubic litres of water – enough to fill up 1,200 Olympic-size swimming pools.