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Adopting a life-cycle costs approach for sustainable service delivery: an experiment

Published on: 09/03/2015

To provide ongoing services, local governments need to systematically address the full range of costs, beyond construction of water facilities. This experiment supported districts to apply the life-cycle costs approach and asset management, so that their water and sanitation plans and budgets would be informed by data on functionality and service levels.

Sustainable water service delivery requires strong links between policy, planning, budgeting, resource allocation and use, but in Ghana these links are weak at the district level. District water and sanitation plans and Medium Term Development Plans cover the cost of building new facilities but usually ignore areas considered served, even when the infrastructure fails to deliver services.

Building on the work done under IRC's WASHCost project, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and IRC have field-tested a methodology for addressing the life-cycle costs of WASH services in three districts and built the capacity of District Assemblies to plan and budget for costs such as capital expenditure, capital maintenance expenditure, operations & maintenance expenditure and direct support costs. The experiment also analysed current asset management assessed the feasibility and preconditions of an asset management approach and developed an asset management framework to help district officials allocate resources appropriately.

An important step in developing the infrastructure asset management concept was the revision of the District Operational Manual (DOM). Triple-S worked closely with CWSA on this revision. The new manual was launched in March 2014 and has defined minor and major repairs and who is responsible for funding them.

During the Triple-S project, the experiment reached limited piloting stage of infrastructure asset management and planning and budgeting for life-cycle costs of water services. CWSA has adopted integrated cost budgeting for its facilities in order to ensure sustainability.

Who was involved?

IRC Ghana/Triple S worked with district planning coordinating unit, district works department, district water and sanitation team and water users, area mechanics, regional community water and sanitation agency, environmental health assistants. Training on LCCA was provided to district assembly staff, and training for civil society organisations at the MOLE conference.

Find out more

To learn more about the life-cycle costs approach, watch the animation: Life-cycle cost approach (LCCA) bringing us closer to WASH services that last.

The presentation below examines the importance of asset monitoring for sustainable services.

(presentation by Peter Burr prepared for the Monitoring sustainable WASH service delivery symposium, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 9-11 April 2013.)

Publications related to this experiment include 

Life-cycle costs in Ghana: ideal direct support costs for WASH services

For more information contact IRC Ghana Country Director, Vida Duti.