Uganda has three existing Service Delivery Models for rural water supplies: Water Source Committees, Water Supply and Sanitation Boards, and the Self Supply model. Water Committees and Boards operate under the Community Based Management System. These models for rural water supply are being promoted and implemented across the country with varying levels of success. Data collected as part of the routine monitoring by the Ministry of Water and Environment, highlights for instance the low functionality of Water Source Committees and the stagnation of the functionality of water sources, suggesting that the current rural water supply service delivery models need to be improved in order to provide better services.
This study focuses on the Water Source Committee Service Delivery Model in eight selected districts: Alebtong, Lira, Kitgum and Nwoya in Lango region, and Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kasese and Kyenjojo in Rwenzori region. The study looks at the traditional Water Source Committee service delivery model, but also at two innovations within the management system (which is one part of the SDM): the involvement of Hand Pump Mechanics Associations (HPMAs) in Kasese district and the integration of community-led savings and credit initiatives in financing operation and maintenance (in Kamwenge district).
Findings from the study reveal that the great majority of households, between 88% and 97%, access sub-standard water service, i.e. a service that doesn't meet the basic norm for at least one of the four water parameters (quality, quantity, accessibility and reliability). The level of service is generally not influenced neither by the performance of the Water Sources Committees, nor by any of the service authority (sub-county or district government). The only factors that seem to have an impact on the service are the payment of water fees by users and the performance of the districts, both having a positive correlation with the reliability of the facilities.
The study concludes with identifying some critical gaps at user level, service provider level and service authority level. The critical gaps mainly centre on issues of institutional structures, limited human and financial resources as well as weak coordination of stakeholders.