The relationship between community based water services and regional water utility

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One of the aspects we examine in our Indii-AIIRA research on the regulatory framework for community based water services is the relationship between local water utilities in CBO.

As we all know, the National Policy on Community Based Drinking Water and Environmental Health (Kebijakan Nasional AMPL BM) differentiates between community based versus non community based (the policy uses the term community versus "institution based" services. "Institution based" services includes PDAM. Our research looks at how these regimes interact.

One of the dominant view we observe in our research is that CB WS is perceived as a voluntary effort. CB initiatives are perceived as inherently temporary, until PDAM can expand its network to remote areas. We discovered cases where PDAM actually expands to regions where CBs are already present.

Some of the issues that we encounter are the following:

1. Health PDAMs can oftentimes provides water reliable quantity and quality and have the capacity to expand network to remote areas served by CB.

2. Villagers may opt for PDAM services, provided that they can ensure quality abd quantity as above, rather than CB services, if they have both the willingness and capability to pay.

3. However, PDAM services costs more than CB services, due to various treatment, technology and expertise employed there. Consumer may choose lower water quality provided by CB over PDAM. This is case where consumer preference prevails.

4. In times of drought, water sources used by CB depletes. Healthy PDAMs can be more reliable in terms of securing water supply as they have the technology and resources to treat surface water, whereas, most CB uses groundwater. In these cases, consumer preference plays no role. Consumer may tend to choose to switch to PDAM from CB.

5. The coordination between PDAM, CB and other initiatives are crucial. This must be reflected in RISPAM (water plan)  and informally in day to day activities.