Self supply as a strategy for WASH is defined as "improvement to water supplies delivered largely or wholly through user investment usually at household level." The two research studies reported on in this paper examined self supply in rural Ethiopia, gaining insights on the performance of existing family wells, factors that affect the decision of families to build their own wells and the way they use them, and elements of the enabling environment that can be targeted to promote self supply.
- On an index of water quality, user satisfaction, reliability, and adequacy, mechanized wells are a preferred water supply. But simple improvements to traditional family wells could significantly improve their performance. * Most households studied use more than one water source, so self supply should be a complement to other delivery models.
- Desire to invest in personal water supply is low in many places. The authors suggest exchange visits, so people can see for themselves what can be done with their resources.
- Most well owners share access with their neighbors, so improvements to one such well benefit more than just one family.
- In addition to saving time and improving health, family wells directly enable economically productive activities, including animal watering and irrigation, for which people rarely use communal water supplies.
- NGOs can research and develop models of accelerating self supply and introduce them through their existing development programs. Governments should play the roles of setting quality control standards and including self supply in national monitoring systems and sector assessments.