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AKAH jointly with AKU-ISMC and KIU working to scale up and transfer rural water systems to urban settings

Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) jointly with Aga Khan University- Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) and Karakoram International University (KIU) are conducting research on Scaling Up and Transferring community-managed Rural Water Systems to Urban Settings



AKAH Pakistan

On World Water Day, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) Pakistan shared an important new research project led by AKU-ISMC’s Dr. Jeff Tan with Professor Steve Lyon in partnership with Karakoram International University and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat.

Generously funded by the British Academy’s “Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being” programme, the £280,000 research grant is for a project titled “Scaling Up and Transferring community-managed Rural Water Systems to Urban Settings”, Many of the problems around access to clean water in the global south are because of poor maintenance and the deterioration of water infrastructure.

The research looks at an existing Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) in Gilgit- Baltistan which uses community-managed maintenance to the water infrastructure to help solve this problem.

The research will examine two projects and assess whether the model could be upscaled to be used in other urban settings. Gilgit-Baltistan is geographically isolated and suffers high levels of poverty.

There are currently 400 community-managed water projects in the scheme which cover over 100,000 households. By working collaboratively and bringing together researchers in economics, anthropology and engineering as well as development practitioners and other experts the project aims to identify how social, economic, cultural and technical factors all affect how community-managed water systems work.

Dr. Tan commented: ‘This is an exciting research project that not only seeks to address the pressing issue of access to water as part of the SDGs, but also brings together researchers and development practitioners from across AKU and AKDN, with capacity building and fieldwork opportunities for university students and graduates from Gilgit-Baltistan.”

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