As water is a basic human need, addressing water insecurity in Hakha town is an urgent and immediate concern. Overall, our study has revealed the inter-related physical and social processes that relate to water insecurity in Hakha, including: the drivers of the town’s population growth, and the importance of town planning; the multiple reasons for deforestation and the need for watershed planning; and the plural means by which Hakha residents currently meet their water needs, and the implications of the municipalization of water supply.
Our overarching recommendation is that addressing water scarcity in Hakha town should not only be approached as a technical and engineering challenge, but should also be recognized as a governance challenge. Thus, decision making towards addressing water scarcity should build upon the existing committees and social arrangements that exist around water. This, ultimately, would increase the likelihood that the challenge of urban water insecurity is met in a way that is informed, inclusive, fair and effective.
Recommendations to Chin State Government and political parties
- Legislate to integrate town planning and watershed planning in Hakha Township, including measures to reforest and protect the watershed area for water security and to reduce future landslide risk. Ensure that all legislation is based on broad-based consultation and participation with Hakha town residents.
- Install an effective drainage system in the mountain slopes to handle heavy water flows, which would reduce water pressure that can create landslides.
- Explore restoring watershed areas, including areas that have extensive construction that could destabilize the slope or town undermine water security.
- Consider migration patterns from a holistic perspective, thus supporting migrants who work or settle in Hakha town including to access basic services, whilst also supporting rural livelihood programs at places of origin.
- Allocate sufficient budget to enable equitable and affordable water distribution across Hakha town from the Timit dam
Recommendations to Hakha Municipality
- Coordinate with existing community-led water committees and other local committees in finalizing water distribution across Hakha town and ensure equitable and affordable access across the town.
- To ensure robust and reliable all-year around water supply, integrate the Timit dam municipal water supply with existing community-led water supply arrangements.
- Promote public discussion on the principles and pricing for upcoming municipal water distribution
Recommendations to Committee of Elders
- Ensure broad-based participation of stakeholders in Hakha town, including civil society and affected community, when guiding and managing urban and rural development projects
- Work with the media to encourage discussion on urban and rural planning, and to gather diverse opinions of the town inhabitant’s aspirations for Hakha town.
Recommendations to Civil Society and media
- Ensure that projects are well coordinated across civil society, with government, and with project beneficiaries, including in the New Resettlement Area
- Continue to encourage watershed restoration, including via the ongoing project to voluntary plant trees on slopes affected by or at risk of landslides
- Continue to build the capacity of civil society to engage with government, local committees and the private sector, including for research that can support evidence-based policy making.