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South Asia: Who has data on the functionality, reliability, and sustainability of rural WASH systems?


Dear colleagues,

Oxford Policy Management is managing some WASH sustainability research for DFID, in partnership with LSHTM, the University of Leeds and others.

One aspect of this is producing regional assessments of operational sustainability of water and sanitation services in rural areas in South Asia.

For this, we are looking for quantitative data for all South Asian countries (particularly Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).

This information on “operational sustainability” may come from government or agency databases, discrete academic studies, NGO evaluations etc.

For rural water, types of data could include:

• Reliability, e.g. hours per day or days per month during which water services are operational

• Functionality, e.g. through water point mapping or inventory initiative

• Seasonality, e.g. months per year during which services are operational

• Service levels, e.g. time-to-source, water quality, use of multiple sources,

For rural sanitation, we are looking at

• Reliability/sustainability of toilets (e.g. quality of construction, working life of toilet, time before pit fills up etc.)

• Sustainability of behaviour, e.g. relationship between access and use over time

If you are able to point is in the direction of any quantitative data of these kinds for any South Asian countries in the next few weeks, that would be very helpful.

The larger-scale the dataset the better (e.g. for functionality we already have the DACAAR and SHEWA-B water point databases, and for service levels we already have DHS and MICS results and the SQUAT survey). At this stage we are most interested in academic or NGO studies which might be out there but not easily searchable in databases or online.

The data would be used in the regional assessment with appropriate attribution, and the results would be shared with parties who contribute data. We are submitting a preliminary draft to DFID in early April, but these would be updated during May/June and published in the summer. Drafts would be shared for comments from organisations contributing data, prior to publication.

Thank you for your help!

Peter Burr


skype: peter-burr

3 Answers


Dear Peter,

The India Water Portal has 337 sources of water-related data, one example is the ASHWAS - A people's survey of water and sanitation in Karnataka (2009).

In Nepal, NEWAH has been monitoring the sustainability of its rural water and sanitation projects. See for example their Long Term Sustainability Study Findings report, which examined the status and sustainability of 298 NEWAH supported projects completed before 1998. Download here.

IRC and BRAC have recently published the findings of a survey of a large-scale WASH programme in Bangladesh. Data on 15 parameters was collected with the Qualitative Information System (QIS) - the best results were on toilet use. See the report here.

Addition - 3 March 2015

Several IRC colleagues have chipped in with some more leads:

The World Bank supported RWSS projects in India ( Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP etc.) have all done third sustainability evaluation exercises - the Jalanidhi project in Kerala has maybe done 3 such evaluations. A draft paper by Dr Kurian Baby includes an analysis from one Gram Panchayat in Kerala.

The SNV Functionality of Rural Water Supply Services (FRWS) programme, which runs until the end of 2015, is working in 3 districts in Nepal, in 2 districts in Laos and in 1 district in Cambodia, and will have a total outreach of 150,000 people. Reports are being publsihe don the programme page and SNV Asia has also set up a discussion group on Functionality of Rural Water Supply.


Thank you Cor!

I will go through those links carefully and see what I can dig out. I predict (it seems) that all large scale surveys of short term performance (daily/weekly/monthly) will be particularly difficult to find. Although I hope to be surprised!

Cheers Peter


Dear Peter,

WaterAid has information on sustainability from various Post Implementation Monitoring Surveys (PIMS) that have been conducted to assess the services received, a couple of years (up to 10 years) after the hand-over. In particular a large scale (representative for WaterAids interventions) survey in Nepal and Bangladesh (ongoing) would be of your interest. Lets discuss in what format etc you need information (report, raw data, standard format?) and what the data would feed into.

kind regards,