Assessment of the Performance of Urban Water Supply Utilities: A case study of Korogwe and M uheza towns, Tanzania
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The provision of adequate and reliable water suppl y in developing countries is becoming a challenge for most water utilities especially public service providers. Water demand has been increasing drastically in these countries due to many factors including population growth as a result of rural to urban mi gration. As a consequence, in many countries public service utilities have failed to provide consumers with adequate water supply and sanitation services. Apart from service coverage, there are other problems that affect public service providers such as high Unaccounted for Water (UfW) and financial problems due to a combination of low tariff, poor services, poor consumer records and inefficient billing practices. This study set out to assess the performance of two urban water supply utilities in Tanzania. There are serious water supply problems in the districts under study and, at the same time, not much is known about the performance of water supply utilities since the implementation of the Tanzanian Government’s new water policy in 2002. This assessment was based on two main indicators which are the quality of servic e and unaccounted for water. The quality of the service and UfW have been cited as some of the major factors which reflect the performance of many water utilities. Poor service quality as measured by the water quality, billing efficiency and customer care, affects consumer willingness to pay and consequently the performance of the water supply utility. Methods used in the study included documentary review, household questionnaires, key informan t interviews and field observations. The household questionnaires were used to study customer perceptions on the quality of the service in terms of availability, reliability, affordability and adequacy of the water, water quality and customer relations. Ke y informant interviews were used to study the general performance of the utilities. Field observations were used to gather data to supplement the data gathered through interviews. The results show that accessibility and reliability of water supply in Muheza town is inadequate compared to Korogwe town. O n average customers receive water for 8 hours per day in Korogwe and 5 hours per day in Muheza. Water supplied by the respective utilities in the two districts is far below the t otal demand. More than 80% of customer complaints in both towns were about water quality, water shortage and customer relations. Poor billing practices and old infrastructure have resulted in high UfW of 42% in Korogwe and 47% in Muheza . The conclusion, therefore, was that the customers were not satisfied with quality of services and that the UfW was higher than the generally accepted value of 25% suggested by the World Bank . It is recommended that the reduction of UfW through appropriate water demand management strategies should be given priority and Authority should engage in environmental conservation at main water sources of water supply. In order to improve the quality of services, the utilities should improve customer relation and care.
Affordability criteria for the provision of services
Concept of performance indicators of water utilities