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Published on: 18/08/2011

Alexander Obuobisa-Darko

This is because providing sustainable WASH services goes requires the provision of the physical infrastructure as well as operating and maintaining the facility beyond the project phase to ensure continuous delivery of service.

Mr. Obuobisa-Darko made the statement during a presentation at the MOLE XXII conference at the Busua Beach Resort at Busua near Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana. This year’s conference took place from 9th to 13th August, 2011 and was under the theme: ''Towards Decentralized WASH Services Delivery: Challenges and Lessons". Sub themes for discussions and presentations included Governance, Accountability and Aid Effectiveness in the WASH sector. Dealing with long term financing for small town systems, Oil and Gas and its implications in the WASH sector and Scaling up Sanitation and Hygiene - The CLTS factor.

The annual conference aims at bringing stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector together to review activities in the sector, deliberate on issues affecting the sector and the way forward.

Mr. Obuobisa-Darko said water, sanitation and hygiene facilities installed or constructed age overtime and need upgrading, rehabilitation or complete replacement to function properly and deliver sustainable services. He said, ‘this is what is called the service delivery approach. However, ensuring service delivery requires a good understanding of the life-cycle cost approach (LCCA)’. This is the process of calculating the total cost of maintaining a system throughout its lifetime.

Mr. Obuobisa-Darko disclosed that WASHCost, in conjunction with its partner institutions, have undertaken an action research and have come out with what actually constitutes the cost of WASH service provision. This, he said, goes beyond the initial cost of investments and gave other cost components that form the total cost of ensuring sustained service delivery.

He gave the various cost components as follows: Capital expenditure (CapEx) - The capital cost invested in constructing water facilities such as boreholes, pumps, reservoirs and pipes. It includes the first time the system is built, extension of the system, enhancement and augmentation. CapEx software includes one-off work with stakeholders prior to construction or implementation, extension, enhancement and augmentation. Operational and minor maintenance expenditure (OpEx) - Expenditure on minor repairs, labour, fuel, chemicals, materials, or regular purchases of bulk water. Capital maintenance expenditure (CapManEx) - Expenditure on asset renewal, replacement and rehabilitation costs. Capital maintenance expenditure is typically more ‘lumpy’ than operational and minor maintenance, with infrequent but relatively large items of expenditure on large items (e.g. replacing generators, pumps of storage tanks or occasional emptying of latrines).

Expenditure on Direct Support (ExpDS) - Expenditure on support to local-level service providers, users or user groups. The costs of ensuring that local government staff have the capacities and resources to carry out planning and monitoring, to help communities when systems break down, to audit community management structures, to monitor private sector performance, to carry out regular hygiene awareness raising and so on. Expenditure on Indirect Support (ExpIDS) – Expenditure on government macro-level planning and policy-making, developing and maintaining frameworks and institutional arrangements, capacity-building for professionals and technicians through university course, technical schools etc. Cost of capital (CoC) –The cost of borrowing or otherwise acquiring the resources to provide the assets needed for a service. This is made up of interest payments on debt and dividend payment to equity providers.

Mr. Obuobisa-Darko concluded by saying that ‘systems can only function properly when there are funds available to maintain them regularly otherwise they will continue to breakdown and we will not get value for money’.

18-August 2011.



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