Making the transition from humanitarian emergency programming to long-term development is not easy. The challenge for WASH practitioners in Sierra Leone is to ensure basic services can be delivered efficiently, sustainably, and ‘at scale’. Between December 2011 and April 2012 the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MEWR) mapped more than 28,000 water points. The mapping survey revealed that more than a third of water points constructed are non-functioning and 40 per cent function only on a seasonal basis. The three challenges now for government are to ensure visually mapped data can be kept updated, fund gaps in coverage, and deliver sustainable services before a second water-point mapping survey in 2014.
In arid environments community water management often still focuses exclusively on management of water assets. Watsan practitioners do not often consider the importance of providing communities with information concerning their available water resources. Consequently the association between water resource availability, groundwater recharge and sound stewardship is often missing, to the detriment of end water users. This article describes an eight-stage process to build a framework for managing water resources which is being implemented in Darfur. It involves end-users in assessing water use, the risks to water quantity and quality, and in prioritizing the use of water to meet the needs of all stakeholders.