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Services and supply chains: The role of the domestic private sector in water service delivery in Tanzania

Bayliss, Kate and Tukai, Rehema (2011) Services and supply chains: The role of the domestic private sector in water service delivery in Tanzania. United Nations Development Programme.

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Abstract

Private water vendors provide a means by which households without an individual piped connection to the utility network access water across tanzania’s capital city —dar es Salaam. Perhaps surprisingly, the most expensive water originates from a public utility tap. this is because the water is transported by vendors, and the long supply chain translates into substantial mark-up on price. In terms of quality, users of transported water cannot be classified as having access to ‘safe’ water, as defined in millennium development goal (mdg) terms. This is mainly to do with the fact that quality is not monitored between the source and the end user. Households in dar es Salaam describe that much of the borehole water is too salty to drink, and they therefore prefer — and pay a premium for — utility water delivered by mobile vendors. Paradoxically, then, the poorest end users pay a higher price for water that does not qualify as safe or ‘improved’. This raises questions about the conceptual accuracy of present definitions of ‘access’ to safe drinking water. Policy intervention is urgently required to address the inequality in access to safe water. Ultimately, comprehensive coverage by a responsive public provider is required. Meanwhile, immediate options include: 1) Support for the private sector. This could include providing finance to strengthen small-scale piped networks and treatment to improve water quality; 2) Support for community provision. This approach may provide water more cheaply than private vendors with less rent extraction; and 3) Learning from the private sector. Where low-income areas lack piped water infrastructure, an option is for the utility to provide water via its own tankers so that quality could be assured and revenue would reach the utility, and possibly fund future infrastructure investments.

Item Type: Monographs and Working Papers (Project Report)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies > Centre for Development, Policy and Research (CDPR)
Depositing User: Kate Bayliss
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2013 15:59
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/15600

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