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.
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.
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.