When water users participate in decision-making and take ownership of local water systems, these systems are much more likely to function sustainably. Additionally, now that across West Africa, locally elected government representatives are legally responsible for water services, they must be involved in any discussions of good local water management systems. Recognising this, we sought to support communities and local government to work together in managing their own water services effectively.
Most importantly, we wanted to avoid breakdowns in services and so we supported good water supply management systems which depend on both traditional and modern committee structures, and are linked to the decentralised government and the private sector in ways that will strengthen the long-term sustainability of water services.
We helped improve communication and co-operation between water user associations and local government (via Municipal Water Days, for example), as well as providing technical training for local water committees.
The documents listed below are just a few practical examples of how GWI approached the design of systems for sustainable community-managed water services in West Africa.