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Governance and sustainability of drinking water systems in rural Colombia

Published on: 05/09/2013

A new report shows the impact of post-construction support on rural water supply in Colombia.

There is widespread recognition in literature of the importance of post-construction support to community-based water providers to increase the sustainability of rural water supplies. However, there is little quantitative evidence to confirm this. Moreover, there is little understanding about which aspects of post-construction support are most significant in providing effective and efficient support.

There is little understanding about which aspects of post-construction support are most significant in providing effective and efficient support.

This report, published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), presents a quantitative analysis of the impact of different post-construction models on the performance of rural water supply service providers and on the levels of service that users ultimately receive in 40 water systems in 3 departments of Colombia.

Nearly all these service providers in the study were found to receive some type of support to their management tasks by external agencies. However, those systems receiving more structured post-construction support had better performing service providers than those receiving such support on an ad hoc basis. Key factors explaining the effectiveness of post-construction support are the degree of formality of the support model, having a balanced mix of qualified staff, the frequency of support and having support models that link the service provider also to other support agencies.

The study, which was carried out in 2011 by IRC and CINARA on behalf of IADB, is presented in Spanish with an English executive summary.