Multiple use of water systems (MUS) can provide the more vulnerable users with low cost
services for domestic water, water for agriculture
(irrigation, rain fed), homestead, garden, water for
cattle, habitats for fish and other aquatic resources
and rural enterprise water supplies.
The same infrastructure
may be used for these services as well as for hydroelectric
power and, in some cases, to aid inland waterway navigation.
Multiple use systems consider also support important
cultural values and functions that are essential for
local well-being and livelihoods and might provide
ecological benefits which include flood control, groundwater
recharge, water harvesting, water purification and
biodiversity conservation. Diversification of water
sources and of productive activities is instrumental
in increasing local community resilience and management
to global shocks and risks that may result from climate
or market crisis.
Multiple Uses of Water Services (MUS) is,
often de facto and sometimes by design, a characteristic
of irrigation systems worldwide. Less than
1 out of 10 systems are single use.
Aiming at promoting more MDGs per Drop, FAO is investing
on MUS to:
- raise the general awareness on MUS by networking
with key UN partners, key groups and water
- develop tools and methodologies for auditing and
modernizing MUS in irrigation systems: a special
module of the MASSCOTE approach is currently developed
- obtain full recognition in the policy arena of
the multi-benefits of MUS and the necessity to develop
new investments with more multi-sectoral approaches.
In 2008 a MUS Consortium was created at the occasion
of the World Water Forum 5th in Istanbul. This consortium
was coordinated by FAO and gather mainly the MUS Group
and the INWEPF, plus additional key partners such GWP,
The MUS Group is
a network of institutional partners and individuals
aiming at sharing knowledge and raising awareness
on the advantages that Multiple Uses of water can bring to rural users
and in particular rural poor in addressing several
key MDGs, such as food supply, domestic water, environment,
FAO liaised with the MUS Group in 2008 during the
preparation of the World Water Forum where MUS was
one of the main topic of discussion coordinated by
FAO. FAO became a core member of the MUS Group early
2009 and is providing financial support to the secretariat
of the Group.
The MUS group members meet annually once or twice,
FAO-Rome was selected to host the mid-2009 meeting
attended by 16 participants during two days in August.
Among many points dicussed during that meeting:
- Indicators of MUS
- Liaison with UN Water
- MUS in partner’s program
- MUS in the Phase 2 Challenge Program
- FAO-MUS Group publication