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Supporting small-scale water supplies in Europe

Publicatiedatum: 22/11/2016

264 million people in rural areas of the pan-European region rely on small-scale water supply and sanitation systems. A new publication outlines the policy options for supporting them. 

Some 23% of the population in the pan-European region (incl.Central Asia) depends on small-scale systems for their water supply, either through individual household supplies or small communal or municipal ones. Many of these small systems face challenges. Due to their limited economies of scale, their operation and maintenance is often deficient and they don't have the duly qualified operators. As a result service levels may not be adequate; this is reflected for example in poor water quality. Systems may become unsustainable. Also surveillance and monitoring of the large number of small supplies is expensive and often not happening.

Water tower of a collapsed rural water supply system in Moldova (Photo: Stef Smits)

Given the importance of these supplies in the region, government should develop policies to support and manage these systems. The World Health Organization (WHO) published a document provides a range of policy options - illustrated by examples from actual practices from throughout the European region - to support these systems. IRC - acting as WHO Collaborating Centre during the period 2012-2016 - contributed to this publication with inputs into the chapter on financing life-cycle costs of small water supplies. 

The document was launched at the Meeting of the Parties on the Protocol on Water and Health, a key regional policy meeting around water, held in Geneva on 15 November 2016.

Traditional standpost in rural Romania

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