Water Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Effective Model for Community Supply Systems

Rafael Quijada Landaverde
Graduate (PhD)
Mary Rodriguez
Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership

Water governance is essential when developing, designing, and implementing more efficient and inclusive public water policies. Water governance has a determining role in economic growth, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability in developing countries (U.S Government, 2017). Water governance includes the rules, mechanisms, and processes through which water resources are accessed, used, controlled, transferred, and related conflicts managed. 
This study aimed to examine the body of scholarly knowledge, research, and practice related to water governance systems. The objective was to identify the components of an adequate water governance system for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. For this theoretical study, researchers conducted a desktop review using multiple primary and secondary data sources, including international cooperation organization documents, journal articles, government reports, and websites. This work was conducted as part of a USAID-funded project entitled, Governance Research on Water Systems (GROWS). GROWS aims to identify and disseminate learnings around innovative governance models and tools to improve rural water service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa. Results identified four components found for an adequate water governance model: trust, accountability, equity, and transparency. Implementing a water governance model capable of achieving the four elements proposed by GROWS could improve access to water among members of rural communities. On the other hand, it would enhance citizen participation in activities related to the water distribution system. A water governance model is effective when it incorporates all the stakeholders within the management responsibilities, including government (national and local levels), private sector, international and domestic non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academia, water committees, and users (Gianotti et al., 2018). Finally, it could significantly reduce the private sector's hesitancy to invest in community water distribution systems. It is recommended to include and disseminate this water governance model in those initiatives that seek to improve water resource conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa.