Inclusive climate resilient rural WASH services - Bhutan

Strengthening the climate resilience of rural WASH systems for 88,246 people in the Bhutanese districts of Dagana, Zhemgang, and Trashigang.



Inclusive climate resilient rural WASH services - Bhutan is part of an ongoing multi-country programme partnership with the Government of Australia’s Water for Women Fund implemented by SNV with partners in Bhutan, Lao PDR, and Nepal.

The project builds on earlier SNV collaborative work with the governments of Australia and Bhutan, and the latter’s November 2022 success in ending open defecation practice nationwide. In partnership with the district governments of Dagana, Zhemgang, and Trashigang, UTS-ISF, CBM Australia, and Ability Bhutan, the project contributes to,

  • strengthening the climate-resilient management of rural water services,

  • leveraging current government infrastructure investment in the sector, and

  • establishing links between improved access to rural WASH services and water security.

Representing different climatic zones in the country, project activities across the three districts seek to identify possible responses to the critical water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenges faced by the country. These include:

  • countrywide drying up of water sources (now at 35%),

  • absence of water safety plans across all 20 districts,

  • community feelings of inadequacy to support climate-resilient WASH efforts and respond to the climate crisis, and

  • low investments to facilitate safely managed sanitation practice.

Because Bhutan’s mountainous ecosystem makes its WASH systems highly vulnerable to climate change, it is urgent to activate all types of leaders – within and beyond formal functionaries – to know how to respond to the climate crisis and give priority to groups that are most vulnerable to its effects.

Priority areas for research, knowledge generation, and learning include, (1) strengthening local government leadership for climate-resilient WASH, (2) management models for rural water supply, (3) coping mechanisms for community-based groups, i.e., Water User Committees; and (4) On-site sanitation emissions (e.g., methane emissions from faecal sludge management technologies).

News and stories

21/05/2023Impact story

Realising government ambitions for more inclusive WASH services in Asia


SNV at #WaWF23

SNV at Water and WASH Futures 2023

Australian WASH support extended to focus on climate resilience

Champhone district resident drawing water stored in container (Bart Verweij for SNV)
See all our updates

Our donors and partners

Government of Bhutan logo
Water for Women Fund logo
Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF-UTS) logo