Decentralisation, private bulk water companies and urban domestic water supply: The case of Harare City
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The global move towards decentralization and Private Sector Participation in water services is associated with neo-liberal reform strategies. With many governments having failed in providing social services such as water, the Breton Wood institutions have been at the forefront of advocating for ‘the rolling back of states frontiers’, so as to create space for private players. The rationale behind the water reforms as enunciated by major proponents is that they would bring in much needed investment, increase access and improve the quality and quantity of water supply. In Zimbabwe, public service delivery in the water sector has been met with various challenges. As a result, new models of water provision have emerged, some adopted but not yet implemented. Private Bulk Water Companies came in as a defacto decentralization model of urban domestic water provision. The study aimed at establishing the role of PBWCs in water service provision and its performance in terms of quality and quantity of water delivered to residents. The study also investigated the efficacy of the state in regulating and monitoring the PBWCs to ensure quality water provision to residents. Data collection was done through the use of key informant interviews and survey questionnaires to establish the views of policy makers, regulators, service providers and residents. Observations were also done at watering points. The study findings show that while some residents are satisfied with the quality of water, there are others whose experience points to a compromise in the quality of water. Contamination at the source and during the handling of the commodity might occur and indeed was observed during fieldwork. The study also found out that though there are instruments set in place to monitor the operations of PBWCs, reality on the ground show that there has been an implementation deficit. The study concluded that given a strong regulatory and monitoring mechanism and a commitment towards a successful decentralization by all parties, PBWCs can present an option for urban domestic water provision.
Additional Citation InformationMudenda, M. (2013). Decentralisation, private bulk water companies and urban domestic water supply: The case of Harare City (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Zimbabwe.
SponsorUNESCO-IHE Partnership Research Fund (UPaRF)
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