Multiple-use Water Services (MUS)

A case study on ‘Cost and benefit of Multiple use systems (MUS) of water’ was conducted in one Woreda in East Hararghe. The aim of the study was to compare the costs and benefits of MUS compared with single use systems of water to make the case for integrated planning of both water for productive and domestic uses. The study compared cases where traditional water supply systems were upgraded first to single use systems (either for irrigation or domestic water supply) and then MUS and a traditional water supply directly upgraded to MUS. Cost benefit analysis at households and systems level showed that the benefits of MUS outweigh costs and additional benefits in upgrading from single use to MUS outweigh additional costs. The implications are that planning for multiple uses of water whenever possible is useful. However, there are equity issues that need to be addressed as productive uses like irrigation benefit only those with access to assets like land, while domestic use systems benefit all. MUS requires an integrated water resource management approach, mapping all uses of water and sources before interventions are planned to account for different uses of water and population growth. The implementation of MUS needs to take account of its effects on different households by for example introducing different fees for different types of users.

RiPPLE also co-hosted the second international symposium with the MUSGroup, held in Addis Ababa, in November 2008. Findings are summarised in a policy brief titled 'Multiple-use Water Services (MUS): Cost-effective water investments to reduce poverty and address all the MDGs' targeted at an international audience on how policy-makers and practitioners can take MUS forward.

Page last updated 28 Aug 2009