Project Timescale

This four-year major research programme will run from May 2015 to 2019. The main fieldwork phases will be conducted in Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia from 2016 to 2017 and will include 3 main surveys:

Survey 1: The first intensive primary data collation involving over 200 water points in each country in 2016.

Survey 2: More focused primary data collection in each of the countries in 2017.

Long term studies: Several longitudinal fieldwork studies running from early 2016 to end of 2017 will also be undertaken within each of the countries.

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Project Outputs

Through the research objectives and activities, the project will deliver:

  • A robust nuanced definition of water point functionality;
  • A new dataset applying this nuanced definition to approximate 600 water points in 3 countries for a much clearer view on water source functionality;
  • Additional datasets on groundwater residence times and groundwater level variations in clustered catchments; inorganic groundwater chemistry data; and several longitudinal studies on the impact of poor functionality on gender dynamics and impacts on the most marginalised;
  • A new robust methodology for other researchers to undertake reliable post construction audits.

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The results of the project will be used to achieve the following:

  • Define source functionality and the implication on WASH coverage figures;
  • The role of environmental change on water source failure in Africa;
  • Review the evidence for the viability of the community management model for rural water supplies for World Development and the complex reasons for failure.
  • A series of authoritative papers research papers in international open access journals presenting research results from the: case studies; individual research disciplines and methodologies; and, integrating the results of the research;
  • A range of other outputs will be produced, including: Policy briefs, and A Practical Action Manual for building resilience into access to rural water supply and assessing rehabilitation options for non-functional water points;
  • Engage with practitioners, local and national government throughout the project within the three countries, and with the wider international WASH community;
  • Develop an international research team and in-country researchers who are trained with appropriate research methods, to address one of the most pressing issues in African groundwater supply.