WhoDoesWAT: a practical decision-making tool to support professionalisation of rural and small-town water supply services

A woman and a man point to a water-monitoring device.
Image: WaterAid/James Kiyimba

Download our participatory tool designed to help water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practitioners facilitate dialogue between multiple stakeholders to strengthen management arrangements for rural and small-town water supply services.

Delivery of basic and safely managed water supply involves multiple actors undertaking a range of essential functions. In urban areas, many of these functions are assumed by a utility working under a regulatory framework with performance management targets. In unplanned neighbourhoods, small towns and rural areas the picture is often less clear, even when roles are set out in policy. Institutional arrangements and accountabilities are often vague, especially with procurement, training, paying for major maintenance and business development. Blurred accountabilities hinder efforts to professionalise service provision, perpetuate poor levels of service for users and decrease ability to transition from one management model to another.

A shift from handpump technology to piped water supply requires a shift in institutional and support arrangements. Policy makers, service providers and service users often have different perspectives of the challenges facing water supply service provision. Transition to more professionalised management arrangements requires a common understanding of the gaps in management models and the wider system or enabling environment.

WhoDoesWAT is a ground-tested participatory tool to help WASH practitioners facilitate dialogue between multiple stakeholders to strengthen management arrangements for rural and small-town water supply services.

Our tool can be used to:

  • Clarify existing management arrangements for water supply services
  • Support professionalisation of existing management arrangements
  • Support transition from one management model to another
  • Identify gaps or weaknesses in management arrangements, with a view to improving service levels
  • Resolve disputes between different actors involved in the management of water services
  • Agree or revise management arrangements for new or existing water supply services
  • Gain an appreciation of the functions required for management of sustainable water supply services

Going through the process of using the tool is also a useful pre-cursor to a life-cycle costing exercise in which you can consider which actors could pay for certain functions, such as major maintenance and asset replacement.

There are two versions of the tool available to download:

Hard copy (PDF): Intended to be downloaded and printed, this is suitable for use in workshop settings with large groups of different stakeholders.

Soft copy (XLS): An Excel spreadsheet version, this can be projected and is suitable for use in all settings.

Also included is a pack of components (ZIP) to use in workshops.

Professionalisation series

The WhoDoesWAT tool is the third in a series of publications focused on professionalising management of rural and small-town water supply services. The first publication, Management models for piped water services, set out the factors that affect the sustainability of piped water, presenting ten different management models. The second publication, Piped water supply services: strengthening management models in rural and small town contexts is a decision-making resource designed to help practitioners select or strengthen management arrangements for piped water supplies in different contexts. It compares the viability of the ten management models against four variables:

  1. Commercial viability and economies of scale
  2. Technical complexity, connectedness and local capacity
  3. Sector policy, legislation and financing arrangements
  4. Regulation and accountability mechanisms, local preferences, and ensuring inclusive services for all