Nepal has taken a very positive step by integrating HRWS into its constitution, and has close to 90% of households with access to at least basic drinking water services. Most of the population lives in remote rural and mountainous areas, where piped water supply is not very feasible, and water quality remains an important issue. Only 27% have access to safely managed services: use of an improved drinking water source which is accessible on premises, free from contamination and available when needed.
In September WaterLex took an active role in understanding and supporting the momentum in Nepal for implementing the human rights to water and sanitation. WaterLex presented its study on the use of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) at the National Workshop on Drinking Water Safety in Kathmandu. This study demonstrates how HWTS integrated with a human rights-based approach could support the realisation of universal access to water in Nepal. It examines applicable international frameworks on the human rights to water and sanitation and establishes the resultant obligations under that framework. For example, solutions for supporting the private sector to meet this resourcing gap in HWTS require an enabling governance framework that provides for community participation, water quality guidelines and affordability measures that seek to ensure that all marginalised and vulnerable people are provided for. Educating people about water quality is also an important factor.
Nepal is receptive to international help supporting the implementation of HRWS in practice, through improved governance frameworks and technical solutions from the NGO and private sector. Building on this work, WaterLex also collaborates with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nepal through its NHRI Water Initiative (see section below). Through this connection, research and know-how established in the study was platformed through a multi-stakeholder training workshop with the participation of the NHRC, local civil society organisations, and government representatives. The NHRC is now working on plans to increase their role in monitoring and education around the human rights to safe and improved water and sanitation supply.