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TitleSocial accountability : tools and mechanisms for improved urban water services
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsVelleman, Y
Pagination40 p.; 2 fig.; 7 photographs
Date Published2010-06-01
Place PublishedLondon, UK
Keywordspoverty, urban communities, water supply services

Given the proven importance of pro-poor measures for urban water service delivery and viability, the question arises as to why such measures are not undertaken by utilities as normal practice. Although financial constraints matter, they do not constitute the only barrier. WaterAid’s report Bridging the gap – Citizens’ Action for accountability in water and sanitation argues that the missing ingredient needed in order to reach poor people is accountability to the people, which necessitates the meaningful involvement of users in the planning, delivery and monitoring of water services. This increases the chances of delivering reliable, sustainable and affordable water services to more urban inhabitants. The engagement of users in utility reforms and ongoing service improvement processes is crucial, since reforms to improve efficiency (inevitably the main driver for reforms) do not “necessarily translate into geographical equity or a commitment to serve the poor… without incentives, a clear mandate to serve the poor or a ‘champion’, companies chase markets that are ‘easy’, offer the highest returns and do not require subsidies”. However, user engagement is far from simple and its outcomes far from predictable. [authors abstract]

This publication is the third of a set of three WaterAid discussion papers on how to improve water and sanitation services to poor people. The set includes:
• Access for the poor and excluded: tariffs and subsidies for urban water supply
• Water utilities that work for poor people : increasing viability through pro-poor service delivery
• Social accountability: tools and mechanisms for improved urban water services

NotesWith approximately 50 references.
Custom 1205.40, 205.42


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