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Pacific Institute Insights is the staff blog of the Pacific Institute, one of the world’s leading nonprofit research groups on sustainable and equitable management of natural resources. For more about what we do, click here.

  • water-vlogged-no-water-utility

    Water Vlogged: Where There Is No Water Utility

    By Misha Hutchings, Senior Research Associate

    September 27, 2013

    In cities throughout Indonesia, utilities employ some of the latest technologies to supply treated water to millions of residents. However, service still isn’t available to thousands of those who are living in informal neighborhoods (slums) or just outside service networks. How, then—and from where—do these residents get their daily water for drinking, bathing, and washing? Here are just a few examples of typical urban water sources in medium and large-size Indonesian cities. …»

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  • assessing-water-affordability

    Hundreds of Thousands May Not Have Affordable Access to Safe Drinking Water in California

    By Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, Senior Research Associate

    August 28, 2013 

    In 2012, California made history by being the first U.S. state to legally acknowledge a human right to water. Yet, what does it mean, in practice, to ensure that all Californians have access to safe drinking water? And, how does the state measure who has access to safe water?

    A new study from the Pacific Institute in partnership with Community Water Center and Fresno State University, Assessing Water Affordability: A Pilot Study in Two Regions of California, addresses these questions and finds that over 100,000 households in two regions (the Sacramento metropolitan area and the Tulare Lake Basin) do not have access to what is considered “affordable” water. In addition, the study finds that the current metrics that the state is using to measure affordability would not capture many of these people. These metrics focus on water affordability at the water system level, which can encompass a variety of different socio-economic groups. …»

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  • community-choices-system-8-13

    Where Have We Reached on Our WASH Models Journey and What Impacts Have They Made?

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Affiliate 

    August 13, 2013 

    A month ago, I blogged on “Improving Access to Water and Sanitation: Is the Answer Individual Behavioral Change?” After several reflections, thoughts on “model journeys and changes we have seen as well as travelled on this road” keep coming to mind. The answer is still not clear. Hence the need to continue to ask, “Where are we on the model journey and what changes have we seen as we travel on these journeys?”

    Fresh from college, in the mid-1990s I had the opportunity to be part of a team to develop a participatory model of rural community water and sanitation supply in Ghana. Before the participatory model era, many communities in Ghana, especially in the northern part of the country, had received water supply wells that were financed and managed by the central government. Various types of hand pumps metamorphosed (from monarch, mono, etc. types) in order to reduce the frequent breakdowns and cost of repairs. Changes in hand pumps, however, did not result in any significant increase in communities’ independence, ownership, management, and maintenance of the hand pumps, since they still had to report repair and maintenance issues to a central point which took several days to months before any decision was made as to whether to repair them or not. …»

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  • infographic-water-barringer

    Unleashing the Information Floodgates: the Right to Information in Water and Sanitation Provision

    By Misha Hutchings, Senior Research Associate

    July 19, 2013

    Working closely with communities in Ghana, Indonesia, and India has given us firsthand, sobering insight into the problems affecting the 783 million people in the world without safe water and 2.5 billion without sanitation. Undeniably, the lack of safe and reliable water and sanitation services in low- and lower-middle-income countries impacts women, poor people, and other marginalized groups the hardest. They spend disproportionate amounts of time and money and risk health and safety for basic needs—a glass of water or use of a toilet—for which other people within the same borders yet of different socio-economic statuses and means don’t have to give a second thought (see infographic below). …»

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  • blog-akudago1-6-25-13

    Improving Access to Water and Sanitation: Is the Answer Individual Behavioral Change?

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Affiliate 

    June 25, 2013 

    Born and raised in rural Africa where I spent my youthful life, open defecation was not only the norm but preferred to outhouses that were poorly ventilated and unbearably hot. We did not understand the consequences of exposing human waste around our houses. At that time, the best practice for sanitation and hygiene was to use a hoe to excavate the ground and bury our feces during the farming season so that the food we grew in the wild did not get contaminated. …»

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  • Notes from the Field: What We Know about Indonesian Urban Residents, Water Utilities, Local Government Agencies and NGOs at the Beginning of Our Third Year Developing WASH SMS

    By Misha Hutchings, Senior Research Associate

    February 5, 2013

    Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. – Henry Ford.

    December marked the beginning of year three in the development of the WASH SMS platform through our pilot project in Indonesia. The Institute and our partners Nexleaf Analytics and PATTIRO have been developing two Indonesia WATER SMS systems …»

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  • Rosyid awaiting customers in his shop where he sells secondhand mobile phones, handpon bekas, at prices the poor in Malang can afford.
Source: Misha Hutchings

    Notes from the Field: Mobile Phones Within Reach

    By Misha Hutchings, Senior Research Associate

    Septemeber 26, 2012

    Due to their ubiquity in low- and lower-middle income countries, mobile phones are being used throughout the developing world to connect the poor with a range of information and services that can transform their lives: education, election polling information, peer-group (mental health) support, health services, disaster relief, and micro-banking. Indonesia is ranked fifth in the world for number of mobile phone subscribers …»

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  • This pond is where the people of Bissighin access water.

    Notes from the Field: Resident Says He Would Use Information from Community Choices for Water Tool to Be an Agent of Change

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    August 13, 2012 

    Jean Zoundiis a 51-year-old man from Bissighin, a community located in the Commune of Saaba, which is about 25 km East of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. When I learned that the village was 22 km away from the Burkinabe Capital, I thought there was no need to go there to treat water since there would be running water. To my surprise, Mr. Zoundiled me to a pond that over 600 people depend on for drinking and other domestic purposes (see photo). …»

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  • CCW_biosand_filter_may_2012

    Notes from the Field: Pilot Testing the Community Choices for Water in Ghana

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    May 16, 2012

    Over the past 12 months, the Pacific Institute – in partnership with its West Africa partners NewEnergy, World Vision, Rural Aid, Pronet North, and Water and Sanitation for Africa – has been conducting learning sessions to develop the Community Choices decision support tool to help communities and NGOs make informed decisions for  their water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges. The internet-based prototype includes many field-proven technologies and is designed to empower water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) professionals and communities to choose technologies based on their responses to a set of questions that reflect cultural, socio-economic, hydrological, and religious factors. …»

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  • CCW_gofai_sahi

    Notes from the Field: Gofal Sahi Gets Excited with Community Choices for Water

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    May 8, 2012

     “When you arrived from Wa at our community, we thought you were another group coming to deceive us,” said Ms. Barakisu Yusuf. Though Gofal Sahi community has received several promises of a borehole, the government officials have never returned to fulfill the promises. She added, “We never knew we could ever get clean water in our community.”

    …»

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