Self-supply: bridging the gap between household demand and community water supply?

This paper discusses rural water supply at grassroots level, and challenges the assumption that a community water supply facility is the only solution for rural water supply, especially in sparsely populated areas. A comparison is made between two water service models from case studies in Zambia: those with conventional communal water supplies and Self Supply models. Findings revealed that a Self Supply service could significantly reduce faecal contamination risk in water quality and deliver higher per capita water use and better convenience of access than conventional supply, yet its reliability regarding water source dry up requires to be monitored. A conventional community-based water service may not fulfil the households’ demand due to the nature of community ownership and the distance from household to a community water facility. Since the underlying service delivery models are different, an integrated approach is required for a rural water supply strategy and national policy.