Sally Sutton is a consultant and practitioner in rural water supply, focusing particularly on sustainability of supplies from both technical and socioeconomic perspectives. In the 1970’s she undertook doctoral research into hydro-geochemistry at Oxford University and four years research on the hydrogeology and socio-economy of traditional groundwater supplies (aflaj) in Oman. She then moved into the real world as a hydrogeologist, spending ten years with consulting engineers on wellfield development, groundwater recharge systems and digital modelling in various parts of the Middle East.
|A Zambian family invests for themselves, an example of self-supply.|
Moving on to work in Africa, she worked under the advisement of the Zambian Department of Water Affairs. While planning, supervising and monitoring rural water supplies (but including hands- on well-drilling) for the Western Province, and evaluating other donor projects around the country , she became interested in the people being left unserved or badly-served by the conventional rural water supplies she was helping to construct. With the Zambian government and with DFID funding, she ran a large three year project to encourage communities and households to develop and progressively up-grade their own supplies. As a result she was asked by RWSN to initiate and coordinate the Self-supply theme (2003-2011) and to introduce the concept to other countries. This has meant moving increasingly towards planning and policy development . However that is combined with a satisfying privilege of being able to see what is really happening on the ground and advocate for change directly, with policy makers in government and non-government organisations in 16 sub-Saharan countries, with support from UNICEF, the World Bank and NGOs.
|A small group in Zambia which improved their own spring catchment.|
Her particular interest is the interface between social and technical aspects of water supply, specifically how better to knit the priorities and skills of households into the wider context of rural water supply strategies and policies.
Madame Diabate’s well and rope pump in Senegal, shared with all her neighbors and held together with strips of rubber.