Governance of Water and Sanitation Services for the Peri-urban Poor: A Framework for Understanding and Action in Metropolitan Regions.


This document offers a conceptual and practical tool for those involved directly or indirectly in the long-term planning and daily management of basic service provision in the metropolitan regions of developing countries. Its long-term aim is to contribute to a more reliable, affordable and sustainable access to water and sanitation services for the diverse and often-growing poor peri-urban populations in metropolitan regions.

The focus of this document is not on the technical aspects of designing and building infrastructure. Rather, it seeks to provide guidance to better comprehend the institutional and governance challenges of improving access to these basic services for poor peri-urban households and small-scale enterprises.

The book is one of the main outputs of a three-year project which has gathered and synthesised knowledge from around the developing world not only on peri-urban water and sanitation issues but also on the peri-urban areas of metropolitan regions and the people (including the poor) who live and work in them. This includes information collected specifically for the project in five metropolitan areas on three continents: Chennai (India), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Cairo (Egypt), Mexico City (Mexico) and Caracas (Venezuela). It also draws on a broader review of existing literature and on a small number of experiences and innovative peri-urban interventions in different countries.

The Executive Summary outlines the key messages contained in the document, followed by a Summary Table on page 16. The rest of the document is structured in three parts. Section 1 (Understanding the Issues) presents some background information on the basic concepts and definitions that support this work. This is based on a combination of information collected expressly for this project and research done in different countries of the developing world by other authors. Section 2 (Taking Action) uses the water cycle to highlight the specific issues that arise in the provision of water and sanitation services in the context of the peri-urban interface, paying particular attention to the actors involved in the process and their roles, strengths and weaknesses. This section also examines the challenges faced by peri-urban dwellers, service providers and regulators to improve access to water and sanitation for the poor and to enhance the management of the natural resource base. Section 3 (Learning from Experience) summarises a number of initiatives from around the world which address the problems and Illustrate some of the principles outlined earlier in the document.

The discussions in Sections 1 and 2 are supported with evidence from five case studies studied as part of the project and, where appropriate, with case study material from other sources. The intention of this document is to foster dialogue and debate among those concerned directly or indirectly with water and sanitation services by bringing into focus the specific challenges found in the peri-urban context, both in terms of integrated environmental approaches to natural resources and in relation to the reality and practices of the peri-urban poor.


Development Planning Unit, UCL, London, UK, ISBN 1 874502 60 9, 125 pp.

Governance of Water and Sanitation Services for the Peri-urban Poor: A Framework for Understanding and Action in Metropolitan Regions.

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