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The study examines the direct and indirect roles of government in the management of urban water supply.

TitleUrban water supply in Zimbabwe
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsMudege, N
Secondary TitleThe role of government in adjusting economies
Volumeno. 18
Paginationii, 42 p. : 9 boxes, 1 fig., 1 tab.
Date Published1997-06-01
PublisherUniversity of Birmingham, School of Public Policy
Place PublishedBirmingham, UK
ISBN Number070441810X
Keywordsgovernment organizations, institutional framework, legislation, policies, private sector, regulatory authorities, sdiafr, sdipol, sdiurb, urban areas, water authorities, water management, zimbabwe

The study examines the direct and indirect roles of government in the management of urban water supply. The management of water in Zimbabwe is going through change in response to internal and external pressures to cut expenditure and recover cost, but the process of change is yet to yield any tangible results. Bulk water supply is managed by a central government department, but direct water supply to consumers is largely managed by local authorities. Agriculture is the largest single consumer of water, using 85 percent of available water; 93 percent of urban households and 4.3 percent of rural households have access to piped water. The report notes that: the government's capacity to effectively ensure that regulatory systems are in place and operational for water quality is limited; the regulation of bulk water volume is driven by agricultural needs; and government regulate bulk water tariffs, but local authorities determine end-user tariffs. Recent trends and developments in water supply highlighted by the report include: a review of the legal framework for water management is underway, but this is driven more by the need to create a semi-autonomous agency than the need to remedy the shortcomings of the Act which erodes the regulatory powers of the Department of Water Resources; Structural Adjustment and pressures to cut expenditure and recover cost, have provided grounds to rationalize the Department of Water Resources and separate commercial from regulatory functions; and dwindling government revenue, financial demands on new investments, and change in government thinking and strategy have all led to consideration of options for private sector funding and participation in the water sector. Overall, the report indicates limited shift in the role of government from direct to indirect provision. However, changing contexts are likely to drive reform toward more indirect roles for government in the water sector. The process of change may need to be carefully managed and capacity issues need to be redressed.

Custom 1202.2, 824



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