Ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge itself is Power, claimed Francis Bacon in 1597. Power to grow, to move, to hurt, to surprise, to change.
Also, water itself is power. Power to quench, to refresh, to yield. To create energy, to provoke conflicts, to create life.
Put together the two: Knowledge in the Water sector. It is indeed a powerful thing.
With this knowledge, it is possible to:
- Know how much water I have;
- Know how much water I need;
- Improve hygiene practices and avoid water-born diseases;
- Know of simple low-cost solutions and approaches to making water and sanitation facilities more accessible;
- Avoid incorrect, unhygienic and wasteful practices;
- Save water for other purposes;
- Position toilets in accessible places, respecting gender needs;
- Identify efficient ways to transport water;
- Efficiently operate and maintain a distribution network.
- Optimize a sanitation system;
- Identify efficient management models.
With this knowledge, it is possible to guarantee life.
This same knowledge allows decisions makers to identify projects that are financially, economically, institutionally, environmentally and socially sound. This is not a small thing and this is why it is so important to invest in knowledge, to create capacity, and to build solid institutions.
During the month of September of 2015, the IDB Water and Sanitation Division organized a 3-day event in partnership with the Banco del Estado de Ecuador, to present evaluation methodologies for water and sanitation projects; to ensure that they are financially sustainable, good for the country, and based on sound institutional frameworks.
The Banco del Estado, together with the Secretaria del Agua, are responsible for the execution of a number of programs financed by the IDB in Ecuador, and they are going a long way to improve their internal evaluation systems.
It is already possible to see the first positive, long-lasting results. After all, Knowledge and information management in the water and sanitation sector may not be such a hard nut to crack!
Photo credits: Baie du Mont Saint-Michel, France by Marc Biarnès under license CC BY-NC 2.0
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