The Water Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) has published the sixth edition of their WaSH Policy Research Digest. The focus is on community management in rural water supply. Management of water systems by local communities, once considered standard best practice, has come under fire of late due to its failure to ensure sustainable services in many contexts. However, as this Digest argues, there are places in which it has worked, but considerable support is needed.
Key Policy and Programmatic Takeaways
- Community management has proven to be problematic in its most basic form, but there are well-performing examples
- Community management that relies exclusively on users, without some level of external support and oversight, will not ensure high levels of functionality
- Well-designed, performance-based post construction support is needed to support rural communities to maintain their water systems
- A range of options for management of rural water supply systems should be considered
- Governments should consider supporting recurrent costs of rural water supply systems, but avoid removing user fees altogether
The Digests are an easy-to-access knowledge and information resource, helping users navigate the myriad of (often cumbersome, and sometimes conflicting) research journals and publications to extract relevant policy advice.
Published quarterly, the Digests comprises a review of a recent article or report, and a short literature review on a WaSH topic. It provides objective, concise, and timely information to advise WaSH policy development.