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Safe Water Access for the Poor: How Can a Community Group Help?

Communities play a great role in advancing water access. They can promote piped water to their peers and advocate the policy makers to allocate bigger resources to ensure that safe water service is accessible for the poor.

This is what KSM Ngudi Rahayu in Surakarta city has done in RT4/RW 9 in Setabelan urban village, Surakarta city. KSM Ngudi Rahayu is a community-based organization developed with support from USAID IUWASH PLUS in August 2017 as part of the project support to improve WASH access in RT4/RW9 in Setabelan urban village.

The organization is responsible for promoting hygiene behavior as well as making recommendations to improve the community’s WASH access. In order to perform their jobs, the members of KSM Ngudi Rahayu received trainings from USAID IUWASH PLUS on safely managed WASH issues as well as skills for promoting hygiene behaviors, participatory monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy.

During the participatory monitoring and evaluation in November 2017, KSM Ngudi Rahayu found that none of the total 60 HHs in RT4/RW9 in Setabelan urban village had access to safe water.

“Most families in this neighborhood used yellow and pungent dug well water for bathing and laundry. As for cooking and drinking, on average they spent around Rp 60,000/month to buy water from a public hydrant,” said Suparno, the Chairperson of KSM Ngudi Rahayu.

He added that most families in RT4/RW9 make a living from working as shopkeepers, masons, or street vendors so they cannot afford PDAM regular connections.

In order to address this issue, the KSM Ngudi Rahayu, together with the community members in RT4/RW9, agreed to request piped water connections from the city government. In February 2019, KSM Ngudi Rahayu advocated the city government to build the piped water connections during the first stakeholders meeting where the Vice Mayor of Surakarta, relevant OPDs, academics, and private firms were present.

As a result, DisperumKPP allocated Rp130 million from its 2019 APBD and built the master meter and house connections from June to December 2019. The master meter system could be an alternative for the low-income community who have difficulty to access PDAM regular connections. The office also involved the community during the construction process. With support from USAID IUWASH PLUS, DisperumKPP also trained KSM Ngudi Rahayu on the water facility maintenance, operation, and management.

As of December 2019, 56 HHs in RT4/RW9 and 13 HHs in RT2/RW9 (the neighbor of RT4) have connected to the master meter system. Four HHs in RT4/RW 9 plan to build the house connections on their own.

“Thanks to DisperumKPP and KSM Ngudi Rahayu, I can now enjoy clean water and I believe it is much healthier than my dug well. So, bye-bye dug well water,” said Naniendi Hartati—one of the master meter beneficiaries in RT4/RW9.

Available in idIndonesia (Indonesian)