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Empowered citizen-users: towards innovative institutional models for water supply service delivery in the Southern cities

S.T., M.T., Anindrya, Nastiti (the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia)

The cities’ water problems are also not only about transporting water, but also to ensure that the water supply delivered to urban citizens contributes toward the intended positive development outcomes. In the urban South, while the larger part of many centralized water networks is managed by the public sector, there are many diverse institutional arrangements that make up the “alternative” provision systems. The lack of a state-led service for water supply provides market opportunities for private actors and the “third sector” to fill the gap in water provision. Local private actors, rather than state actors, serve as the main provider of basic services in many of the areas underserved by state-owned water companies. Moreover, self-provision, very often coupled with the community-led or private-led provision, remains the main mode of access to a water supply. Citizens are not merely passive actors, but rather the active ones by being engaged mainly in individualized or household market-based strategies and collective self-help strategies. An example of a co-production between empowered community actors and private actors in water supply provision in a peri-urban area is also given. The question remains is: to what extent such an “innovative” institutional model should be or can be replicated?

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