Thousands in Rural Pakistan to Benefit from One Man’s Efforts to Improve Water Supply

A lone water entrepreneur has changed the rural landscape of Pakistan with a fresh and innovative approach, helping provide affordable and reliable water around-the-clock first to his community and to those in nearby villages.
Most rural water schemes in Pakistan are plagued by a common set of challenges: lack of management capacity, ambiguity of roles, absence of coordination, and limited involvement of communities in decision-making owing to gaps in knowledge and skills.
Mussadiq Abdullah’s association with water management began in 1984 when he first helped his father run a village water supply scheme more efficiently. Soon, he had assumed charge of not just managing water schemes in his village but for the entire cluster of villages in the area. The work kept growing and before he knew it, he had become a full-time social engineer and entrepreneur.
Presently working as a community representative in five water supply schemes, Mussadiq directly oversees water supplies to approximately 18,000 connections and 114 small and medium enterprises. His interventions and advisory services have earned him the position of officiating member on various village water management committees. This expanded work charter allows him greater influence over local water supplies, which are likely to benefit an additional 20,000 – 30,000 people. 
Mussadiq’s efforts in alleviating Pakistan’s rural water supply crisis
  • Previously non-functioning schemes now provide 24x7 water through 100 percent metered connections with full cost recovery
  • Improving quality of services at affordable rates by making sure all connections are metered and payments are made based on real consumption
  • Incorporating villager/user feedback to improve water supply services  
Replicating the model 
WSP partnered with Communication for Effective Social Service Delivery (CESSD), a Canadian-funded organization to replicate Mussadiq’s success story in selected communities in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which were facing similar problems in operating and managing their water supply schemes.
WSP organized an exposure visit to Chakwal where NWFP officials could learn from Mussadiq’s experience of managing the different water schemes. WSP later facilitated experience sharing and collection of best practices of well-working water supply schemes among key officials and community representatives from across the country. A rapid assessment was carried out by Mussadiq on behalf of CESSD to evaluate troubled schemes in NWFP. These findings were then used to conceptualize and conduct appropriate technical training sessions for community members on operating and managing water supply schemes.
WSP has engaged Mussadiq, through a local NGO, Integrated Regional Support Program (IRSP), to offer his expertise to help rural communities. These demand-driven services will be available to communities across Pakistan. Mussadiq will develop and strengthen rural water supply models and show these as pilots for institutionalization by respective Public Health Engineering Departments (PHEDs). He will carry out rapid assessment of dysfunctional schemes in technical and management areas while IRSP will cover social aspects. PHED will invest in rehabilitation of these schemes. It is expected that 30-50 dysfunctional schemes will be selected and made to deliver round-the-clock services, 100 percent metering and full cost recovery. Once these communities are strengthened and schemes are made functional, advocacy will be done to institutionalize the process.
Expected outcomes
  •  Revitalization of 20 water supply schemes in NWFP to serve 45,000 people
  • Developing a vision for rural water supply that will benefit the nation as a whole  

Contact: Masroor Ahmad