- Arup has developed a methodology to assess and improve the environmental impact and performance of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in India.
- The methodology embeds environmental considerations in the planning of essential WASH services, ensuring that solutions are sustainable and resilient long-term.
- The methodology has the potential to be scaled-up and applied to different geographic areas or activities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
A team from Arup has been supporting FRANK Water in their Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in this capacity building project.
FRANK Water have raised concerns about the environmental impact of WASH programmes in India, and they approached Arup to provide expertise and guidance to ensure their activities are sustainable, integrated and are resilient to changes in the future. FRANK and Arup have been working together to embed the understanding of environmental constraints at project planning stage, to ensure that the interventions of any WASH project are appropriate and effective in the long term.
Arup has harnessed its expertise in environmental impact assessment and management to build a better understanding of the environmental sustainability of WASH projects. The team has reached out to other organisations about their approaches, and identified and trialled existing tools and methods. The team has developed a methodology which integrates existing and new tools and resources and will be implemented by FRANK Water’s partners in a pilot study, to assess and improve the environmental performance of their programmes and evaluate the methodology to inform its future development.
Key team members are travelling to India in February to trial the methodology with VJNNS, one of FRANK Water’s partners, in Eastern Andhra Pradesh. The team will be testing the robustness of the methodology itself, as well as the ease of application to ongoing projects.
In the future, this methodology could be expanded beyond India to other areas, and to different sectors of international development.
Value to the community
Ensure that WASH solutions are appropriate, effective in the long term and do no harm to both the environment and target beneficiaries. This is aligned in particular with Sustainable Development Goal 6 and the 2015-2030 global development agenda of understanding and improving sustainability of development activities.
Value to the partners
FRANK Water is a small charity with a big impact. With only a handful of employees this comes from collaborating with key strategic partners in the UK such as Arup and EWB, and appropriate partner organisations in India to implement activities. Arup provides great value to FRANK Water’s work through technical expertise, and knowledge on sustainability and resilience, which is not currently available but is increasingly important and aligned with the global development agenda. This is vital to ensure FRANK Water has the tools to uphold the key principle of doing no harm to the environment as a result of programme activities which improve the access to safe water and sanitation for target beneficiaries.
Value to Arup
Being involved in this project has allowed Arup staff to gain an awareness of environmental considerations and issues, and improve communication, research and technical skills. They have had the opportunity to build capacity by developing a useful methodology for a small NGO and associated partners and communities. Going forward this project may involve further developing the existing Arup tool ASPIRE for application at a field office level by INGO workers in India.
Arup's expertise in EIAs is invaluable to us, ensuring the sustainability of our WASH programmes, which will reach 70,000 people this year.
Environmental Impact is something often overlooked in WASH projects. This is a great opportunity for Arup to work with FRANK to instil environmental considerations and constraints as part of their WASH project planning, and help ensure the environmental sustainability of their projects.
This project will support better informed decision making to ensure our partner’s WASH programmes are truly sustainable. Beyond this, it has the potential to be replicable and scalable to provide value to other regions and sectors in the future.