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Thematic Group meeting discusses professionalisation of rural water supplies

Published on: 20/09/2013

Looking at what can be done to bring professionalism into community-based water supply.

Professionalisation – without it community-based water supply seems destined to fail. A recent RWSN thematic group meeting focused on this important building block and how it can be facilitated.

Community management is the dominant model for rural water supply, but it is also the weakest link. Water committees are often voluntary and have little or no accountability. The result is a chronic pattern of service delivery failure. At this year's Stockholm World Water Week the Management and Support Thematic Group (MSTG) of the RWSN looked at what could be done to stimulate and facilitate professionalisation of rural and small town water supply.

The half-day event brought together 30 sector professionals from development partners, private sector, government and civil society, with presentations by WSP, SNV, Vergnet Hydro, and Ghana's Community Water Supply and Sanitation Agency.

The participants agreed that professionalism of water supply is key, regardless of the management model (community management, public-private partnership, etc). This implies clarity on roles and responsibilities of different actors involved in water supply (including on who is responsible and pays for what related to spare-part supply, asset renewal, etc), availability of appropriate levels of human and financial resources, and clear and effective regulatory arrangements. You can download the presentations and a summary of the deliberations from the link below.