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McGill University (2014)

Sustainability of community-based drinking water systems in developing countries (Northern areas of Pakistan)

Aslam, Muhammad Sagheer

Titre : Sustainability of community-based drinking water systems in developing countries (Northern areas of Pakistan)

Auteur : Aslam, Muhammad Sagheer

Université de soutenance : McGill University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2014

Résumé
A basic framework for sustainable community-based drinking water systems (CBDWS) is studied in this research program ; it is based on the performance of existing water supply systems and on the responses to a survey by the various stakeholders. A model for overall sustainability was developed and validated through its application to about 70 CBDWS in rural settings of northern areas of Pakistan (as part of a developing country case study). In addition, analyses and scenario projections of environmental component of sustainability were made along with detailed analyses and syntheses of statistical surveys to gauge stakeholder perspectives and priorities and to incorporate the results in overall sustainability. The study concluded that sustainable CBDWS can be developed and operated only with active participation of stakeholders (grouped by experience as technical, environmental, economic, social, and institutional). The system must maintain safe and drinkable water resources (environmental considerations) and also maintain the potential for renewability through technically optimized design, high quality execution and regular infrastructure maintenance in an economically beneficial and self-reliant set-up. Social and institutional involvement must also be an integral part of the system. Failure of any of these components can affect the sustainability of the entire system. A relevant definition for sustainable CBDWS was formulated, along with the development of a new model for CBDWS sustainability. The model showed that properly maintained sources, proper infrastructure, aware society, stable economy, and effective institutions are linked components of a sustainable CBDWS, and failure of any of these components can affect the sustainability of the entire system. Scenarios for population that would be without access to improved drinking water in 2015 were also projected on the basis of the field studies. The field studies concluded that environmental sustainability in terms of capacity, quality, reliability and protection of drinking water sources is critical. Projection of these findings to a broader level shows that unless urgent measures are undertaken, serious "fallbacks" may occur in the established Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the United Nations. In the context of the relevant MDG, such fallbacks can reverse the situation to a previously unsustainable condition.The stakeholder subjectivities and priorities for the various elements of CBDWS were examined and quantitatively incorporated into the system. The environmental and institutional components appeared as higher priorities among the various group stakeholders. The environmental component is a higher priority among stakeholders with natural sciences and engineering backgrounds, whereas institutional component (related to community institutions) is the foremost priority for stakeholders with social sciences backgrounds. Finally, for monitoring and evaluating CBDWS, a cost-effective and user-friendly applied framework capable of accommodating field data with varying levels of quality was developed

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Page publiée le 12 juillet 2014, mise à jour le 8 février 2018