Expanding Water Service Delivery through Partnership between Water Utility and Small Scale Water Providers in Lusaka, Zambia : A Case of Lusaka’s Peri-Urban Areas

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Tema vatten i natur och samhälle

Abstract: Zambia is a highly urbanized country with 60% of its urban population residing in low cost areas also called peri-urban, slum or informal settlements. The increase in urban population attributed to rapid migration and urbanization due to political and economic changes has taken a toll on service provision as the infrastructure development and service provision has failed to meet the demand. For the 33 peri-urban areas in Lusaka, the water supply and sanitation has been poor, inadequate and unreliable with the coverage being slightly above 50% for water while 90% of the urban population does not have access to the much needed sanitation. The low coverage is a result of lack the financial capacity on the part of the service providers to extend services to un served areas. This research focuses on the strategies to provide sustainable water and sanitation services to peri-urban areas to ensure improved accessibility through the expansion of infrastructure and attainment of full cost recovery. In this era of increasing migration to unplanned settlements where the services are inadequate, alternatives to public provision of water and sanitation services need to be put in place. One of the alternatives is the public-private partnership which encompasses the society, private and the civil society. As has been found in the study the best alternative should not only be completely bottom up but should also be more demand driven and be able to provide for greater contributions from the affected communities. The hypothesis of the study is to ascertain if provision of water supply to the Peri-Urban Areas (PUAs) can be achieved through the partnership between the water utility and the small scale water providers. Therefore, the objectives of the research are to: evaluate and compare the current service provision to the peri-urban areas by the utility and small scale providers in terms of technical, social and institutional arrangements and determine the best way of ensuring sustained service provision to peri urban areas and show how partnership can be the best solution to improving service delivery to these areas. Service provision in PUAs can not be achieved without the involvement of all the stakeholders especially the community who are also the users and whose major role is paying for the service to enhance sustainability. In this study the Small Scale Water Providers (SSWP) users were found to be satisfied with the service provided than the utility users who felt that more needed to be done. The two providers are found to have different strengths which when combined would enhance service provision. The collaboration between utility with its competence in water supply, technical installations, water quality testing and SSWP with theirs in community involvement, cost recovery, effective operation and maintenance and demand driven water schemes have to be merged to achieve the intended goal and it is also an indication that the two can complement each other. Utility should therefore consider opening investment accounts for all the areas so as to detach PUAs needs from the general plan and eventually budget as they would be self sustaining and enhance willingness to pay for the users. The SSWP should therefore be viewed as partners by all and licensing should be considered by the government for the benefit of the urban poor.

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