Pacific Community Water Management Plus (PCWM+)

This International WaterCentre led research project is exploring how CSOs and governments can better enable rural community water management in the Pacific to improve SDG6 outcomes, using community water management plus practices.

Research focus: Progressing inclusive, resilient and sustainable SDG6 and WASH outcomes in the rural Pacific: approaches to enable effective community-based water management

Partner CSOs: Plan International Australia, Live and Learn Solomon Islands, Habitat for Humanity Australia and Habitat for Humanity Fiji.

Partner universities: Griffith University, University of South Pacific, Solomon Islands National University

Funded by:

Key research questions

How can CSOs and governments better enable rural community water management in the Pacific to improve SDG6 outcomes, using community water management plus practices?

Specifically:

(a) What can be learned from evaluating community water management across diverse community contexts, especially about which community governance, engagement, and support features are most aligned with inclusive, integrated and resilient SDG6, including WASH, outcome? then,

(b) What approaches and tools, that are sensitive and responsive to local context and improve inclusion, enable community management plus? That is what approaches and tools can CSOs/governments use, to strengthen the community engagement, support and governance features that are aligned with successful community water management in the Pacific?

Research description

Poor management of water sources and services is associated with inadequate WASH outcomes, negatively impacting on human health and well-being, and often affects women and girls disproportionately. Across the Pacific, community water management remains the necessary model for rural water services, due to the limited presence of government and private sector.

However, global and Pacific evidence indicates that current approaches to enabling community water management don’t lead to inclusive, integrated and resilient WASH outcomes, and that external support is necessary. Community Water Management Plus (Baumann, 2005), recognises that managing rural community water systems is a shared responsibility between communities, local authorities and central government.

Although Pacific governments appreciate that support is required, and invest in providing support for community water management, there is a lack of evidence about what support is effective, including in different community contexts.

In partnership with CSOs, government and communities in both Fiji and the Solomon Islands, this research seeks to answer how CSOs and governments can better enable rural community water management in the Pacific to improve SDG6 outcomes, including the resilience, inclusiveness and sustainability of WASH outcomes.

This will be answered by:

  1. first evaluating a variety of existing models of community water management, and
  2. secondly co-developing and piloting a toolkit of context-sensitive community engagement approaches to enable effective community water management.

The approach involves male and female local university and village ‘researchers’, strengthening local research capacity as well as promoting gender equity in academia and local WASH outcomes, and participation of women in local water governance.

Key outputs include a toolkit and guide to enable Community Water Management Plus. This will be comprised of

  1. community-engagement and other approaches that enabling actors, including CSOs and government can use to support context-specific management of community water systems
  2. guidance that governments can include in their plans and guidelines relating to community water management, to increase the uptake of community water management plus approaches.

Expected benefits of the research

“Currently, governments and NGOs know communities need support to manage their own water supply systems but don’t have any evidence of what works and why.  The practical tools of this research, co-developed with academics and practitioners, will allow us improve practice by NGOs and government, and increase the likelihood of sustainable and reliable water services in communities.”

Tom Rankin, WASH Program Manager, Plan International Australia

Project updates

Read the project summary for the Solomon Islands

Read the project summary for Fiji

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