Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have embarked on integrated water resources management. As part of these reforms in the water sector, many governments are considering and others have already implemented the legal tool of water rights allocation and have linked the same to water tariffs. This paper analyzes formal and factual payment-linked water right systems in the agrarian economies of Sub-Saharan Africa. The formal water management tools, as formulated in the water policies and laws are analyzed and compared with the early experiences of implementation and impacts on the ground, in particular in Tanzania. The paper further examines whether in reality the original objectives of the water rights and water tariffs are attained or not; the potentials of the water rights and water tariffs, and the present and possible pitfalls of the same. The paper also identifies the problems that are encountered in the administration and the enforcement of these tools. Finally the paper draws the generic conclusions, , highlighting the conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa under which the managerial aims of payment-related water right systems can be reached, but also the conditions under which the tool creates new problems without solving existing problems, and thus should be thoroughly revisited.
IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition Conference, 19-24 September 2004, Marrakech, Morocco, pp 9