New REAL-Water program to expand the knowledge base of rural water services

Skat Foundation, a partner in the Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP), is a core member of a new consortium led by the Aquaya Institute, which has been awarded a five-year USD 18.9 million cooperative agreement from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Rural Evidence and Learning for Water (REAL-Water) program. REAL-Water will evaluate strategies for expanding access to safe and sustainable rural water across the developing world.

Eight out of ten people without basic water services live in rural areas. Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 (part of SDG 6) requires a thorough understanding of rural water supply challenges and solutions.

The REAL-Water program will support research on three primary topics:

  1. Professionalization of rural water service delivery
  2. Strengthening of water quality monitoring in rural areas
  3. Improved planning for water resources

REAL-Water will support policy makers, development partners and service providers to make strategic decisions and implement best practices for water supply and management through implementation research. It will also ensure coordination with related USAID programs that contribute to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Water Resources Management (WRM) knowledge base, in alignment with the USAID Water for the World Implementation Research Agenda.

REAL-Water is an initiative of the Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, with support from the Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health.

Skat Foundation will serve as knowledge broker through the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN), in a similar manner to their previous role in the UK-funded seven-year program Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro) (2013–2020). Skat will focus on strengthening the links between water supply and water resources management – in particular, groundwater as a key resource for millions of rural dwellers across the globe.


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