NEWAH is fully aware of the fact that climate resilience and disaster risk reduction is one of the major cross-cutting issues for the sustainability of WASH projects. The potential impact of climate change on WASH has different faces. Major threats are: the depletion of water sources, drought, changes in temperature (too high and too low), an increasing rainfall intensity, a change in the duration of rainy seasons and infrastructure damages due to climate induced disasters, viz. floods and landslides, which ultimately affect the functionality and sustainability of projects.
As a result, source depletion (drinking water and irrigation), changed water consumption and use patterns, damaged infrastructures, water quality degradation and increased risks to health, disputes in water use, loss of productive land, change in land use patterns and a decrease in agriculture production can be experienced by the communities.
Based on its experience, after having identified climate change adaptation needs and barriers, NEWAH has produced a policy and guidelines for mainstreaming climate resilient measures. They include disaster risk reduction measures and the teaching rural communities of climate resilient water resource management. Accordingly, NEWAH focuses on identifying disaster risks in project areas from the initial stage of planning, survey and design and takes measures for disaster risk reduction. The climate and disaster resilient structures are subsequently implemented with proper monitoring and supervision.
NEWAH has also identified measures for improved water availability and water use efficiency and introduced integrated water resource management (IWRM) for climate change adaptation. Projects will be carried out while aiming at an establishment of general awareness on effective water use, hygiene and sanitation-friendly behavior, source protection and a system of water recharge, retention and reuse.
This makes IWRM another cross-cutting issue followed by Agriculture, Nutrition and Livelihood. The use of water for agriculture improves the livelihood of people and frees them from pervasive malnutrition and poverty, because agricultural products and animal farming bring food security as well as they secure income.
Another cross-cutting issue addressed by NEWAH in its policies and guidelines
is Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. The objective of this policy is
to create equal opportunities to all community members including women,
disadvantaged castes, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and other
socially excluded individuals to pursue their rights to water, sanitation and
hygiene. The approach aims to release women and the excluded groups from
existing social, cultural and institutional barriers so that they can realize
their potential and enjoy the benefits of development.
NEWAH ensures a meaningful participation of women in key positions during the projects as well as a representation of the poor and excluded in WSUCs.