This case study analyses the support given by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Government of Chhattisgarh, to community service providers for rural water supply and assesses the level of service achieved through this arrangement.
|Title||Understanding resource implications of the “plus” in community management of rural water supply systems in India : the case of PHED, Chhattisgarh|
|Publication Type||Research Report|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Javorszky, M, Dash, PC, Panda, PK|
|Pagination||28 p. : 6 fig., 20 tab.|
|Publisher||IRC, Cranfield University, Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS)|
|Place Published||The Hague, The Netherlands|
This case study analyses the support given by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Government of Chhattisgarh, to community service providers for rural water supply and assesses the level of service achieved through this arrangement. A majority of consumers in the 'best practice' villages were found to receive acceptable service levels, which confirms the effectiveness of service provision. However, 41% still access quantities classified as inacceptable and 34% spend more than 30 minutes a day on collecting water so major challenges remain.
The study found that water supply is managed by communities through the Gram Panchayat. In only one village an independent, functioning water committee could be found. Nonetheless, communities are involved or at least consulted about major decisions through village meetings or informal channels. Therefore, the service delivery model was classified as a form of direct public provisioning with community involvement. The Gram Panchayats as service providers have effective mechanisms for accounting and managing cash, whilst improvements could be made in technical capability such as water security planning. Due to insufficient tariff collection, they have to cover between 22% and 63% of operating expenditure from general budgets, which points to issues with cost recovery.
PHED Chhattisgarh is the main institution responsible for implementing rural water supply schemes and supporting communities in their management. The assessment showed the department to be very qualified technically but lacking capacity and a perceived mission for community empowerment and capacity building. Support is mostly given in the initial phase after construction, by training the community pump operator. After that, the level of ongoing support is limited to water quality testing and assessing functionality.
The recurrent costs for supporting the service providers at the PHED level were estimated to be around INR 13 per person per year. About 70%, INR 8 per person and year, is the annual grant towards operation and maintenance transferred directly to the Gram Panchayats, while costs for direct support are around INR 2 per person per year and costs for indirect support are INR 3 per person and year. Costs for initial training and capacity building were estimated at INR 23 per person, which is about 1% of the investment in hardware, showing the little emphasis on community mobilisation and training.
The three main points of this case study are:
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