In West Africa new water points may be delivered with central government or donor funding, however their maintenance is in local hands. GWI focussed on two areas: firstly ensuring new infrastructure is built to a high initial standard, and secondly designing stakeholder driven maintenance processes. Users should pay for their water, either entirely or partially, and must also know the correct amount to contribute in order to ensure sustainable services (e.g. covering the cost of maintenance, replacement parts etc). But equally there is no point having a good management plan and a well-built water structure if nobody can actually afford the water or if vulnerable community members are unable to pay.
One of the most significant issues we encountered was a lack of understanding of sustainable financing for local water services. To tackle this issue we developed a participatory tool for village-level water pricing, to help ensure that infrastructure maintenance and repair costs are understood and budgeted for in the long-term. How much people must contribute varies with type of pump, and number of users; payment systems may include payment at the pump (per volume), monthly or annual subscription or community contributions. Villagers need to discuss and agree their preferred option. Likewise, we developed a simple technical tool for engaging stakeholders, to ensure user participation at all stages of planning and implementation.
We also partnered with WEDC (Water, Engineering & Development Centre) to deliver training to community and local government representatives on water supply sustainability within the context of decentralisation.
The documents listed below showcase how GWI united stakeholders to deliver hardware quality for sustainability.