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8 tips for preparing resilient WASH projects to attract financing

17 December 2021

With a growing number of African countries being significantly affected by prolonged severe droughts and water scarcity, rising sea levels affecting coastal areas, changing rainfall patterns affecting agriculture and reducing food security, severe floods affecting people’s livelihood, amplified by community structural and gender inequalities, health pandemics like Covid -19, social disparities and exclusion, environmental impacts, conflict, fragility, ecosystem destruction, land degradation; climate change and variability is now recognized as the major challenge of this century for humanity.

Climate change and variability also has impacted on water resources with a cascading effect on its reliability and sustainable support to water and sanitation services to the most vulnerable communities. Building resilience and adapting to climate change is therefore crucial to sustaining basic services, especially for systems and people most vulnerable to climate-related hazards. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, abbreviated as WASH is part of the solution to building climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation. However, climate resilient WASH services have been difficult to attract finance.

In this blog, Elicad Elly Nyabeeya, WASH and Climate Resilience Expert at African Water Facility of the African Development Bank offers some tips on how to prepare resilient WASH projects to attract financing.

Before going any further, it is important to understand the concept "Climate-resilient WASH project"

What does it mean?

A climate-resilient WASH project is one with ability of its system(actors) and components parts to anticipate climate risks and hazards (cyclones, sea water rise, floods, droughts, heatwaves), to absorb the shocks and stresses, recover from the effects of hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner and adapt to cope in the future. It therefore helps ensure that WASH infrastructure, management structures and services are sustainable and resilient to climate related hazards; and WASH contributes to building community resilience to climate change.

A WASH resilience approach ensures integrated water supply, sanitation systems, hygiene education services and practices meet the needs of children, their families and communities, whilst adaptive to the potential shocks and processes of climate change that have inhibited the provision of sustainable WASH in African countries.

What are the fundamental components of a resilient WASH project to attract financing?

A resilient WASH project to attract financing requires to have integrated water supply, sanitation and hygiene education components with holistic service levels covering community, schools, health facilities and communal places like markets, with good system efficiency, maintenance and operational management structures.

From a climate change resilience mainstreaming perspective and to attract more financing, we have developed below, some elements that will enable to prepare quality projects at entry.

  1. Ensuring the project targets the poor, underserved and most vulnerable communities, as these sections of the population are most impacted and cannot cope easily to climatic shocks and stress.
  2. Existing and future potential climate risks and hazards that are prone to impacting the WASH project performance are identified, adaptation measures developed and plans for building the project stronger and greener in place, to minimize the impacts of climate change and variability.
  3. Aligned Country WASH strategy and policies prioritizing climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation measures, thus providing an enabling environment and deliberate focus to build strong infrastructure, peoples capacity, efficient management structures to create resilience to climate change.
  4. Ensuring project water source and watersheds are protected with nature-based water conservation, restoration vegetation with catchment management structures, to minimize water depletion and quality variability, sustaining water supply to the current and future populations.
  5. The water resource is equipped with a measurement and monitoring system, collecting water resources and climatic data, informing adaption measures, and projecting trends for early warning to minimize climate hazard damage and impact to people’s livelihoods.
  6. Project development guided by integrated water resources planning, to meet the multi-purpose uses and needs for water as well as required ecosystem environmental flows to ensure water, food and energy security.
  7. Prioritizing projects originated by the beneficiary communities with build capacity and approved through Multi-sectoral WASH sector/cluster planning and coordination committee at National level, able to decide, implement and monitor appropriate climate adaption interventions, enabling community cope with the climate shocks and stress.
  8. Prioritizing renewable power source where feasible, like solar for running and pumping the water supply system, to mitigate on the climate change through minimizing carbon emissions to the environment.