Rural Water Supply Systems in Nepal: Factors Affecting Equitable Access to Water
Keywords:access, equitable, pandemic, Dailekh, Sarlahi, GESI, Community, water, WASH, Functionality, SRA
Issues of gender and social inclusion in the governance mechanism of rural water supply systems have been a major concern of users, policymakers, and practitioners in Nepal. Amid changing livelihood context due to migration, transition to a federal governance structure, and social hierarchies, communities face persistent inequities in access to safe water, while its supply continues to diminish. In this context, increasing competition for water has in many instances resulted in the fulfillment of water needs of some groups, while compromising the water needs of others. In such instances, it is usually the poor and marginalized groups who are disproportionately affected. Moreover, understanding the factors affecting equitable access to an adequate supply of water now particularly after Nepal’s entry into the new federal governance system, and COVID-19 pandemic is paramount.
Based on the learnings of 3-year research project that seeks to understand the role of gender and power dynamics in the functionality of community water systems, this paper will provide insights on collective water management practices. A mix of qualitative inquiries such as focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, social and institutional mapping, and observation were utilized to collect the data. This paper will present evidence from the project sites highlighting how community institutions are managing the supply and distribution of water particularly by discussing factors influencing equitable water supply.
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