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Background and Performances of the NWSDB

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Sound management of water resources and access to water and sanitation services are now regarded as key components of sustainable development, particularly as a precondition for the steady improvement in living standards in developing countries (United Nations Development Programme, 2006). However, the use, abuse and competition for increasingly scarce water resources have intensified over the past decades. Population growth, urbanization together with changes in lifestyle and economic development in developing countries has heightened the pressure on water resources that are already limited (UNESCO Division of Water Sciences, 2003; World Bank, 1992). These countries are particularly vulnerable to the problems linked to climate change, such as floods, droughts and tsunamis. These will affect prospects for economic and social development, political stability, as well as ecosystem integrity (UNESCO Division of Water Sciences, 2003). Therefore, careful economic and environmental management of water is required.

Water in most cities and towns in developed and developing countries are under-priced with damaging long-run consequences (ADB, 1993; J.J. Boland, 1997; J. J. Boland & Whittington, 1998). The price of pipe-borne water is low in relation to the cost that is incurred on its provision and this under-pricing has resulted in poor services and reduced incentives to expand the spatial coverage of services (J. J. Boland & Whittington, 1998). The problems associated with pricing of raw water and public infrastructure has resulted in under-pricing of water. The pipe-borne water sector is often characterised by high levels of subsidies on grounds of lack of affordability by the poor (Mathur & Thakur, 2003). Subsidies on pipeborne water are ineffectual in improving welfare of poorer households since these households typically do not have private connections and, therefore, are unable to benefit from the subsidy (J. J. Boland & Whittington, 1998).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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