ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department (IED) recently published a topical paper that details the Bank’s lessons in preparing and implementing projects on water supply and sanitation (WSS).
“The sustainability of urban WSS operations can be improved by learning from recent developments and changing attitudes across the region,” wrote the publication entitled Sustainability of Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Operations Findings and Lessons.
The publication devoted a chapter discussing these lessons, which are grouped into three themes: (a) improved project design and implementation, (b) appropriate tariffs and cost recovery, and (c) community participation and project sustainability.
The following are some of the lessons that can be done for future WSS projects:
Improved project design and implementation
- WSS design needs to attend to system interdependencies.
- Cost estimates for WSS projects need to be realistic.
- Complexity is endemic in WSS projects and needs to be confronted directly.
- WSS implementation arrangements need to be very detailed with attention to future transitions.
- Long-term engagement with WSS clients is preferable.
Appropriate tariffs and cost recovery
- A strategic approach to WSS tariffs and cost recovery is needed.
- Unwillingness to charge for WSS services needs to be addressed over the long term.
- WSS willingness-to-pay analysis needs to distinguish between ”happy to pay”’ and “absolutely must pay.”
- WSS cost recovery must be differentiated from full-cost tariffs.
Community participation and project sustainability
- Many effective community participation programs have contributed to project sustainability, and hence community participation in WSS operations should generally be promoted.
- Community participation needs to be preceded by or coupled with public awareness campaigns.