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WASH Basins Toolkit’ and ‘WASH Connect IWRM App’: Tools for Integrated Groundwater Management Through WASH Projects

IWRA 2020 Online Conference - Addressing Groundwater Resilience under Climate Change
THEME 3. Contribution of Technology to Groundwater Resilience
Author(s): Philip Songa

Mr. Philip Songa1 (Senior Water Resources Engineer), Mr. Gerd Cachandt1, Ms. Vera Ngosi1, Mr. Hamish Hay2, Mr. Jon Shepard2


WASH BASINS projects

Keyword(s): WASH, IWRM, groundwater, climate change, data, monitoring, digital tools, app, SDG6


Safe water and sanitation for all is a significant challenge, especially in the face of the climate crisis, urbanisation, growing populations and increasing water scarcity. In India the challenge is exacerbated by political, social, economic and environmental imbalances, which result in unsustainable provision and management of water and sanitation services to the poorest communities.

The ‘WASH Connect IWRM’ Android app and ‘WASH Basins Toolkit’ are modern, digital tools developed to respond to this issue. They comprise commonly used approaches and methodologies for water resources assessment and management. They are appropriate for use at rural community level in India and can be applied to similar developing world contexts. They integrate the generation, analysis and sharing of primarily groundwater resources data at different governance levels, allowing stakeholders to make better decisions on groundwater allocation and management.

The tools use established global best practice in water resource management, supported by the latest developments in information technology and open-source satellite data. They enable users to apply existing, freely available data such as GIS and satellite data available in the India Space Research Organisation’s Bhuvan Geoportal. Bespoke data-collection forms for annual groundwater level measurements, groundwater source survey and water quality were developed using KoBo Toolbox and made freely available for use and adaptation as appropriate. Long-term use of these tools leads to the generation of monitoring data and records which can be used to assess the evolution of water resources, including the impacts of climate change.

The toolkit and supporting app provide relevant learning on IWRM and basic hydrogeology targeted at those in the WASH sector. This ensures that NGOs and community-based organisations can upskill their staff and deliver reliable and sustainable water supply projects thereby managing available resources effectively. Key skills required, such as hydrogeological and hydrological skills, are identified for each stage of project delivery.

The approach has been adopted by the respective governments in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh states in which the project teams were working. Wide adoption by local governments has the potential to transform India’s rural water infrastructure.
The tools provide a means of establishing long-term monitoring of groundwater resources, including impacts of climate change. They also align closely with and supports UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, and its underlying targets and indicators. In particular, Target 6.1 on universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and Target 6.5 on implementing IWRM at all levels.

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