Multiple Use of water Services (MUS)

What is MUS?

Rural and peri-urban people need water for drinking, cooking, washing, sanitation, watering animals, growing food and generating income. Multiple-use water services (MUS) take people’s water needs as the starting point. By looking at all water needs and available water resources holistically, it is possible to make more cost-effective and sustainable investments that generate a broader range of health and livelihood benefits than is possible with single-use systems.

Why MUS?

The reality is that many people use domestic water services for a variety of productive purposes, including fisheries, livestock, home gardens and small-scale enterprises, and irrigation services as well as domestic needs such as drinking, washing, bathing and sanitation. If these uses are not planned for, the result is often damage to systems and conflicts between users.

How to do MUS?

Moving from basic supplies to MUS requires planning for higher levels of service in terms of the quantities of water supplied and distance from point of use. Intermediate-level MUS provides the highest benefit-cost ratio. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, upgrading to this level of service would mean doubling or tripling current volumes supplied, of which only 3–5 lpcd would need to be of high enough quality for drinking and cooking.

RWSN collaborates with the MUS Group because we recognise that rural people need water for more than just drinking and cooking. In 2014, we hosted an e-discussion that looked at MUS from different perspectives, and the synthesis is available below:

Related Resources

Optimizing Intensified Runoff from Roads for Supplemental Irrigation: Tigray Region, Ethiopia


From the UPGro Catalyst Project "Optimising Road Development for Groundwater Recharge and Retention"

This research has demonstrated that the road in the study area is having significant negative impact to the agricultural livelihoods, but that also it has a huge potential to be a key contributor to the enhancement of the livelihoods. The three major recommendations are :( 1) for the betterment of the impacts, it is suggested that Roads for water harvesting and multiple uses be mainstreamed in educational systems (2) There should be integration between relevant institutions and authorities (ERA, MoA as well as regional and zonal line offices) in making future road development plans. And (3) Awareness generation should be done to encourage farmers utilize the runoff from roads for productive purposes. Moreover, technical assistance and training's needs to be delivered at grass-root level. | »

Multiple Use Water Services - Potential and Challenges for Rural Dwellers (English/Francais/Espanol).

E-Discussion on Multiple use water services, 28th of April – 24th of May 2014.

Multiple Use Water Services - Potential and Challenges for Rural Dwellers.
E-Discussion on Multiple use water services, 28th of April – 24th of May 2014.

Service d’eau à usage multiple - Potentiel et défis pour les habitants en milieu rural.
Discussion en ligne sur les services d’eau à usage multiple, le 28 Avril – 24 Mai 2014.

Servicios de uso múltiple del agua - El potencial y los desafíos para su adopción en áreas rurales
Discusión electrónica sobre los servicios de uso múltiple del agua, del 28 de abril al 24 de mayo de 2014 | »

Management & Support Working Group Workshop 2-3 Oct 2012

Presentations and write-ups from workshop section in The Hague

The first thematic meeting of the RWSN Management and Support Working Group took place on 2-3 October 2012. Focus of this meeting was on piped water supply schemes in rural areas and small towns. It considered the different management and support mechanisms required to manage these schemes and ensure that they provide sustainable services.
This 1.5-day thematic meeting took place in The Hague, the Netherlands, hosted by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. It was followed by a half day kick-off and management meeting of the Working Group on Management and Support of Rural Water Supplies on 3 October 2012. | »