Multiple use water systems

Using the landscape to supply communities with water

A Multiple Use Water System uses gravity to provide families in Nepal with enough water to drink and feed their crops.

In the mountains of Nepal, poor people have to negotiate difficult paths and steep climbs to get to mountain streams, in order to collect a can of water. Yet no matter how many of these hazardous journeys they make, families can never collect enough water for their basic needs.

Constructed with local materials, this simple technology solves the problem of water being out of reach - and helps families lift themselves out of poverty. This means that, for the first time in their lives, families have enough water, both to drink and to irrigate the crops they need to survive.

How it works

Using the power of gravity, a system of pipes carries spring water down into collection tanks in the community. The water is then fed to taps for domestic and agricultural use.

1. Water is carried from a local spring high up in the mountains
2. The source and intake box feeds the water into the pipe system
3. The water is collected in two tanks lined with soil-cement plaster
4. The water is carried to public tapstands to provide drinking water
5. Water is also fed to off-takes to provide water for irrigating fields

The impact of the multi-use water system (MUS)

Families no longer have to make difficult journeys to rivers
An MUS can provide a family with over 1,000 litres of water a day for cooking, drinking, washing, feeding livestock and irrigating crops, which means no more hazardous trips to fetch water.

People can grow crops for three seasons of the year instead of two
With more water available for irrigation, many farmers now reap three harvests instead of two, allowing them to feed their families all year round. Plus they can grow new crops that can fetch a high price at market.

No more having to choose between drinking and farming
Without an MUS, many poor families have to make an horrendous choice. Do they use what little water they have collected for drinking or irrigation? With this new technology there is enough for both.

Households also have enough water to meet their hygiene needs
Many people in the poorest areas had no water for washing, which often leads to disease. Now, with an MUS pumping water into their communities, families have been able to regain their health and dignity.

The incredible impact of an MUS:

  • Families have access to eight times more water for their drinking and cooking need
  • Each household has 500 litres a day for irrigation (compared with just 25 litres before)
  • In total, each family has over five times more water to meet all of their needs (including feeding livestock and washing): a remarkable 1,045 litres a day

How you can help

With your help, we can pipe water to isolated villages. Practical Action has already helped install this simple, effective water system. But there are still so many more families who desperately need the extra water provided by an MUS.

click here to donate online via secure serverOur projects are needed now more than ever. Please make a donation today and help us bring lasting change to poor families in need.

Further information

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