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"You are doing well—keep on going 'en derechura'", said a community member of about 70 years old, when we wanted to confirm if we were on the right track with the municipality of Candelaria. I had never heard of the expression "en derechura" before, but it quite accurately expresses what is happening with the cost of water and sanitation services in Honduras.
At the beginning of March, the Regulatory Entity for Drinking Water and Sanitation Services (ERSAPS) communicated, that they consider the At What Cost tool (known in Spanish as A Qué Costo)—a tool for setting tariffs that cover all costs for the service to be sustainable—so useful for Water Management Boards and their Supervision and Local Control Units (USCL), that the tool has now been made available on their website.
This recognition of the tool, represents an important step in the costing of services. Since ERSAPS is the lead agency on the subject of tariff setting, their validation of the tool adds to its credibility. So now it is not only a tool that is used by the Honduran Everyone Forever partnership, Para Todos Por Siempre, but it is a tool for the whole country. This achievement was the result of several working meetings between Para Todos Por Siempre and ERSAPS in which the tool and its uses was discussed in detail.
It is within this context that from March 14 to 16 a workshop on the costing of water and sanitation services was carried out in the municipality of Candelaria, Lempira on the set of tools that Para Todos Por Siempre proposes. Among those that participated were technicians of the NGO, Comité Central de Proyectos de Agua y Desarrollo Integral en Lempira (COCEPRADIL), Water Mission, Mancomunidad de la Cuenca del Rio San Juan (MANCURISJ) and ERSAPS. The objective being that the water and sanitation technicians of the various municipalities in the department of Lempira learned to use and thus implement the whole set of tools available.
Currently, the direct support costing tool has been applied in five of the municipalities for the study on "Municipal public financing for direct support to the provision of water and sanitation services". Advancements have therefore already been made in those municipalities. At the moment technicians have the necessary knowledge so that, only with a little support from the Para Todos Por Siempre partners, it will be possible for them to use the tools in their entirety and thereby determine the cost of sustainable drinking water and sanitation services. This represents another step forward on the path towards achieving water and sanitation services for all, today and forever more.
The community member that we met along the way could not have said it better—We are "en derechura", that is, on the straightest path to putting a cost on sustainable services. Although this does not imply that there will be no challenges ahead—we know that there is still much to be done, but the important thing is that we are on that path. With that, we celebrate the adoption of the A Qué Cost tool at the national level and continue moving "en derechura".
Directly translated from Andrés Gil's original blog post, 'En derechura' al costeo de los servicios de agua y saneamiento.
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