Environmental Sustainability of WASH Programs

July 11th, 2017By: Rain editor



While we make sure current generations can increasingly make use of safe WASH facilities and services supply, we mustn’t forget about future generations. This means that the only way to set up sustainable water and sanitation, is doing so without degrading the environment. This approach takes into account the mutual interdependence between the ecosystem and the community. It therefore looks for environmentally sustainable solutions, making sure the E of our FIETS approach is covered. In creating safe and sustainable WASH for all, it is really important to keep the environment healthy for its residents.

It is easy to forget about the worth of water, until the well is dry. The guiding principle in the Environmental Sustainability approach is that water, land and other resources are part of one single ecosystem and cannot be dealt with separately. A mind shift is needed for most stakeholders, to make this an integral part of our thinking. By approaching WASH programmes from the environmental angle, you will secure the availability of water in the long term. Therefore, understanding relevant environmental aspects is crucial for any WASH programming and should be performed at all levels.

In case you observe that awareness and capacity need to be built, then RAINs training-of-trainer package on environmental sustainability in WASH is a great way to show people how the environment works, but also how its environmental services can be used to sustain your WASH services. The training-of-trainers manual for WASH programme planning is central, but the toolkit also contains field exercises, tools for visualising and an e-sustainability interactive manual to ensure an environmental sustainability approach.

Goals and results

The WASH Alliance International (WAI) has setup a learning and innovation program in 2016. RAIN, as part of Aidenvironment, lead the environmental sustainability track to build capacity of partners and to develop an approach aiming for environmental sustainability in WASH programming. Services provided by RAIN:

  • Country study providing an overview of available cases, tools and partner capacity and identifying potential catchments and applicable tools.
  • Setting up environmental sustainability training programs in Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal, including environmental risk assessments and field visits showing best-practices.
  • Setting up a training package for trainers to integrate WASH program planning in Integrated Water Resource Management planning. Presentation and communication of training module.