This study attempts to understand the relationship between water and livelihoods in poor communities, and the Demand-Responsive Approach (DRA) in rural water supply and sanitation projects. It is in part methodological, piloting the household economy approach (HEA) as a practical and an affordable tool for analysing rural livelihoods in relation to DRA in rural water supply projects. The study has adopted a case study approach, based on wealth groups as a way of analysing the impact of DRA on rural livelihoods. Two villages, Kailapathana and Diyabeduma in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, were selected as case study areas.
After an introduction, Section 2 of the report looks at the national policy environment, highlighting some of the past development policies, discussing the evolution of various water resources and supply policies, and addressing the present debate on water sector reforms. Section 3 looks at actual water resources in Sri Lanka. Section 4 outlines DRA in Sri Lanka and the efforts taken by the government to institutionalise the approach in water supply and sanitation. This section also highlights emerging issues and lessons learnt in implementing DRA, impacts on water users, and measures taken to mitigate some of the detrimental effects on propoor groups and to involve the poor in mainstream development. Lastly, the report presents the two case studies illustrating the implementation of DRA and benefits, drawbacks and implications for water users, with findings categorised by three wealth groups.
London, UK; ODI, ISBN 0 85003 7271, 55 pp.