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Community-driven multiple use water services: Lessons learned by the Rural Village Water Resources Management Project in Nepal

Sanna-Leena Rautanen
Rural Village Water Resources Management Project, Kailali District, Nepal; sannaleenar@gmail.com

Barbara van Koppen
International Water Management Institute, Pretoria, South Africa; b.vankoppen@cgiar.org

Narayan Wagle
Rural Village Water Resources Management Project, Kailali District, Nepal; np.wagle@gmail.com

ABSTRACT: This article examines community-driven multiple use water services (MUS) as pioneered by the Rural Village Water Resources Management Project (RVWRMP) in the Far and Mid-Western development regions of Nepal. These regions are characterised by poverty, remoteness, rugged terrain, food insecurity, water scarcity, and post-conflict legacy. Water provision for domestic and productive uses provides opportunities to address poverty and livelihoods in environments with highly decentralised governance. This study explores the first-hand lessons learned in the RVWRMP in Nepal since 2006. This project is embedded within the local government. Key project entry points are decentralisation, participation and empowerment. This article reflects how the community-managed systems are used for multiple uses whether they were designed for it or not. It focuses on household- and community-level changes and related institution building and participatory planning through Water Use Master Plans and a Step-by-Step approach. Recommendations are made for scaling up multiple use services.

KEYWORDS: Multiple-use water services, local governance, Nepal