To pay a small fee for an improved water source? (AlertNet)

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Source: Alertnet // Astrid Zweynert

Why poorer villages are choosing to pay for water

What happened when families in a small community in northern Rwanda were given a choice: pay a small fee for an improved water source, or continue to get free water from local streams?

Even though they live on just $5 a month, they opted to pay the tariff. But this was not just about having cleaner, safer water. It also means girls and women no longer need to make a two-hour trek up and down a steep mountainside to fetch water, an arduous and dangerous task.

Last June, Mugomero village turned on a new water kiosk, and the locals pay approximately five (U.S.) cents for a 20-litre jug of water so the village’s water committee can maintain it.

This is just one example of the collaborative approach that Water for People, a non-profit enterprise, has been building up in the 10 countries where it works in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

“It’s about reaching more people but reaching them with sustainable services,” Water for People’s spokesman John Sauer told AlertNet in an interview.

“We don’t just want give them a borehole and then leave,” Sauer said.



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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.