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TitleTransparency, accountability in water service delivery, problems and prospects : a case of Brahmapur city in Orissa, India : paper presented at the IRC symposium ‘ Pumps, Pipes and Promises: Costs, Finances and Accountability for Sustainable WASH Services
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsB. Sahu, P
Pagination16 p.; 19 refs.; photographs; 5 boxes; 2 charts
Date Published2010-11-16
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Keywordscommunity participation, corruption, urban areas, urban communities

In urban local settings, mismanagement of water is characterized by poor governance which includes faulty policies, conflicting interests among water users, weak decision-making structures with top-down approaches, lack of public participation, poor implementation, lack of funds, corruption and lack of accountability. This results in poor service delivery and inequitable distribution. Citizen’s participation is increasingly recognized as an essential component of good governance practice. Accountability is a fundamental value for any political system. Citizens have the right to know what actions have been taken in their name, and they should have the means to force corrective actions when government acts in an illegal, immoral, or unjust manner. Two social accountability tools ‘Citizen Report Card’ and ‘Urban Corruption Survey’ have been used by the non-governmental organization Youth for Social Development to create public awareness, provide necessary skills to monitor and advocate for water policy and governance reform.  Citizen groups were also helped to use the Indian Right to Information act (2005) to acquire and use information about their water and sanitation services and providers.

This paper has been designed to serve three basic objectives concentrating on ensuring accountability among the WASH service providers. This includes:

  • highlighting the corruption and lack of accountability among service providers in local context;
  • demonstrating citizens’ participation in demanding accountability; and,
  • providing prospective solutions for ensure accountability through constructive engagement between water users and service providers.

The paper also provides a few propositions to strengthen transparency and accountability among the WASH service providers. [authors abstract]

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