Monitor and evaluate for better water services

22 March 2012

© Communauté Urbaine MPM - Marseille Provence Métropole / François Moura

Access to water is not an end in itself if the quality of the service is not met. Indicators measure the performance levels.

Peri-urban areas and small towns of developing countries are often abandoned on water and sanitation issues. When systems exist, performances displayed are often inferior to levels foreseen. Through participant interventions from approximately fifteen countries, the French Development Agency (AFD) sought to demonstrate that Water Monitoring and Reporting (WMR) can improve the quality of the service supplied to users while reducing the costs.

The monitoring and reporting rest on the collection of datas at a local level. This data allows to provide a certain number of performance, technical, financial and institutional indicators. This information, reflecting on service quality, is given back to all the different stakeholders: users, operators, main contractors, ministrys responsible for water, development agencies…

Some developed countries are already implementing this approach. In France, the National Observatory of Water and Sanitation Public Services, part of the ONEMA (Aquatic and water national office), play this role: local information is collected in a national data basis. This makes the production of a report stressing various performance indicators possible. It equally allows comparisons between regions in order to adapt public policies if necessary.

Monitoring and reporting progresses in the South

In the South, this practice is common as well. So, in Kenya, the information system on water regulation identifies nine key-indicators on performance. Every year, the annual report expresses its satisfaction with local operators who transmit requested information and do not hesitate to expressly mention the ones that do not play by the rules. In Niger where associative structures approved by government assure the follow-up of evaluation, water sales up to 0,03 per m3 cover the system’s cost. The best way to recover the arrears favoured by this system, facilitate the cost efficiency of the exploitation and the amounts saved are used to renew the equipment. In Madagascar, Haiti, the Palestinian Territories or even in Congo, such mechanisms start to be implemented. Major challenges remain, specifically to guarantee the reliability and harmonisation of collected data and to reinforce local capacities. Nevertheless, supporting mechanisms such as the cooperation proposed by the Syndicat des eaux d’Ille de France (SEDIF), are available.

Bulle En

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