The SecureWater project purpose is to increase understanding among interveners in the water sector of water-livelihood links, enhancing their capacity to eliminate poverty through demand responsive approaches. The project developed out of a concern that new 'demand-responsive approaches' (DRA) to water supply and sanitation emerging in the 1990s had an inadequate understanding of community 'demand', and willingness to pay for new services, with implications for the well being of poor households.
SecureWater research findings show that the shift in water sector policy and associated process of institutional change are very much ongoing in the countries studied, but that interpretation of DRA in policy has varied significantly. The India case study, for example, highlights the uneven pace of reforms within the country and the multiple drivers of policy operating at different levels (national, state, district etc). While the basic principles of promoting consumer choice through decentralised provision are theoretically appealing, this has implied major changes in the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders at all levels, hence the attendant challenge of institutional reform should not be underestimated. SecureWater research has also identified a number of challenges associated with implementation which can be broadly categorised in terms of the capacity of local level institutions to understand the nature of demand for water and to respond effectively.
This report gives a the background to the research, describes methodology and research activities during both the Inception and Research phase of the project, summarises research findings from India, Sri Lanka and Kenya, and describes dissemination and uptake.
London, UK; Water Policy Programme, Overseas Development Institute, 33 pp.