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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Role of Government in Maintaining Rural Water Supplies: Caveats from Malawi's Gravity Schemes
Author:Kleemeier, Elizabeth
Periodical:Public Administration and Development
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:water supply
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Politics and Government
External link:https://doi.org/10.1002/pad.171
Abstract:Over the past 10-15 years, a new strategy for rural water supply has emerged, now generally referred to as the 'demand-responsive' approach. A number of features distinguish this new strategy from its predecessors, among which the limited role proposed for government. Under a demand-responsive approach, government is supposed to confine itself to providing certain backup services (e.g. legal regulations, hydrological information, training), and leave direct responsibility for constructing and maintaining water supplies to the beneficiaries and the private sector. Malawi earned a great deal of praise for its programme to build gravity-fed piped water schemes in rural areas. This paper focuses on the role of the Malawian government in the operation and maintenance of the programme: what responsibilities did the government take on and why; how well did it perform them; and what have been the sources of any problems. Unfortunately, the Malawian government has not been able to provide the supporting services and recurrent financing necessary under even its limited role. As a result, the schemes are functioning at about 50 percent of capacity. Both observers and those directly concerned failed to identify or act on flaws in the planned system for a number of reasons. Bibliogr., notes, sum.