To develop drinking water services in small towns, the GoLao is testing concessions arrangement between district authorities and the Lao private operators who are asked to finance as much as 70% of capital investment.
Syndicat des Eaux d’Ile de France (SEDIF)
drinking water, service provision, monitoring ; performance ; regulation ; small towns, PDR Lao
In Vientiane and Bolikhamsay provinces, the MIREP programme have successfully developped 7 systems that will be monitored by the Water Supply Regulatory Office (WASRO); WASRO produces annual reports to compare the performances of provincial public utilities and private operators suppliers (district level).
GOL has recruted concessionaires to finance, build and operate drinking water systems in 7 small towns in Vientiane and Bolikhamsay provinces.
GOL initiated the project. District and provincial authorities recruted lao entrepreneur who finance as much as 70% of capital investment. GRET (a french ngo) was charged with implementation. SEDIF and the government of France provided financial support to pay for technical assistance and subsidize part of investments.
Poor sustainability poses a threat to achieving the MDGs. Yet approximately 1 in 3 rural water supply systems in developing countries does not function or is performing below its expected level. Monitoring service provision should improve decisions at local level related to compliance by operators and managing assets. Data could be compiled and used at provincial and national level to make decision related to policy and planning. Key question include : how to regulate (in terms of performance, transparency and tariffs) small scale water services in rural and semi-urban areas?
Quick implementation and reduced investment costs are the main strengths. The approach developed to date is rather cost-efficient, even though transaction costs are still high in the pilot stage for dissemination of procedures to provinces and districts. Relying on local partnerships helps solving local issues as well as saving money and time during the implementation.
MIREP has implemented an original regulatory framework involving mainly local public authorities, the national regulator and heads of villages. It has set-up instruments and methodologies to assess performance of the private suppliers, ensure complaince, facilitate regulation and overall improve decision taking.
The MIREP programme in Lao is an adaptation of a similar programme in Cambodia (2000 – 2005). Currently, the GoLao is considering a new initiative to built as many as 20 new systems. International aid will still be required to subsidize part of the cost related to infrastructure development (30%) and technical assistance.
The following aspects seem key to sustainability :
- Professionalisation of service provision
- Post-project support to service providers and local governments (or service authorities)
- Training should also focus on issues relate to asset management
The municipality of Vientiane is considering the implementation of 2 systems following the MIREP model.
Department of Housing and Urban Planning,
Ministry of Communications, Transport, Post and Construction Vientiane,
Tel./Fax.: 856 21 451826
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