Meeting of minds to develop sustainable safe drinking water distribution network, contributing to SDG 6.1: universal access to safe water
Dubai (UAE) / Papendrecht (the Netherlands) - Project Maji, a safe water enterprise, and PRATICA Foundation, a non-profit consultancy organisation focusing on solving rural water challenges in developing countries, have entered into a forward-thinking action-research partnership. The collaboration aims to optimise access to safe water in water-poor communities by installing multiple distribution points to significantly increase access, demand, and willingness-to-pay by offering higher service levels.
The partnership is driven by the mutual ambition to improve rural water business models, advancing the long-term sustainability of safe water provision to the most vulnerable communities. The project aims to generate tangible outcomes that will contribute to the progress of Sustainable Development Goal 6.1: access to safe water. Currently, 785 million people lack access to safe drinking water and new, innovative pathways and technologies are imperative to make real progress.
To rethink rural water economics, a technical pilot will be undertaken. In this action-research project, the partners will test a sustainable safe drinking water distribution network for rural, water-poor communities in Sub-Saharan African countries. An underserved community, lacking basic access to safe drinking water, has been identified on the banks of the Volta River in Ghana. The project will include fit-for-purpose technologies using solar pumping and custom designed pre-paid systems with basic data monitoring capacity.
To optimise the infrastructure cost, this concept uniquely matches water production with demand. The system design consists of a network of compact mini water kiosks, leveraging existing infrastructure such as small shops for convenient distribution. The pressure in the network will be generated by solar pump, rather than a gravity-generating water tower and is scheduled to be implemented in the first quarter of 2021.
Sunil Lalvani, Founder/CEO of Project Maji: “We are very excited to embark on this research journey, where we expect to gain valuable insights to improve our rural water provision model. Our vision and ethos are fully aligned with PRACTICA’s and we complement each other’s core strengths. The project will hugely benefit from PRACTICA’s wealth of research and engineering experience, and Project Maji experience and capacity implementation and community engagement. Both aspects are invaluable to drive sustainable sector change, taking essentials technical and financial steps towards efficiency.”
Ilja van Kinderen, Project Engineer of PRACTICA Foundation: “Our common goal is to find a self-sustaining and even self-expanding water provision model in rural settings. This action research project seeks to optimize the business case. We use the latest data insights of existing schemes and integrate these findings in a new technical design. We are delighted to work with Project Maji – as one of the pioneers in this business-minded approach. And we are thankful to our donor for funding this research and supporting us in this common quest.”
Both parties emphasise the importance of sharing the outcomes with the rural water community. The aim is to provide a blueprint of a smarter and more sustainable safe water distribution network for all providers, so it can be replicated and scaled in multiple countries, unlocking new finance to contribute towards SDG 6.1, universal access to safe drinking water.
Regular updates will be published on each partners’ regular communication channels. A sector report is expected to be published Mid 2021.