Many of the readers of this journal work in national and local governments and non-governmental organizations. With financial and in-kind support from communities, from national budget allocations, and from funds provided by external donor agencies, they aim to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services at household and community level, and across entire local government administrative areas.
Water supplies are often thought of as either traditional – and by implication unsafe – or modern – and thus acceptable. Instead, water supplies of all kinds can be considered on a continuum of acceptability, and governments can help individuals to gradually improve their water supplies and move them up the ladder.
The well programme is a hit with the people, but goes against the government grain. Can an NGO allay the bureaucrats' misgivings that something so simple cannot be serious — and persuade them that offering material subsidies to individual families is the cheap option?
Following on from last issue's theme of replicability, perhaps the best way to achieve a minimum level of sustainability in the operation and maintenance of water supplies is to go back to the smallest unit—the family.