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Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is a vital element for poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. Long-term increase in coverage depends on many factors, including sound financing, community engagement in the design and implementation of schemes, and the training of village mechanics, local government and entrepreneurs in the upkeep and repair of systems. For a scheme to be sustainable, planning also needs to consider whether there is enough water of suitable quality to meet demand across seasons and between good and bad years. Flooding, land degradation and other environmental risks to water systems also need to be addressed, especially as climate change accelerates.

This guide aims to show how organizations implementing WASH programmes, working in partnership with communities, can integrate these concerns into their activities and complement existing approaches such as Water Safety Planning (WSP). The focus of the guide is on groundwater-based, community-managed wells and springs in rural areas ‘ systems that are potentially most vulnerable to changes in rainfall and in demand due to population growth.

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