Naughton, M.

Year of Publishing



Community management of water points: more problem than solution? RWSN Dgroups discussion synthesis


This note summarizes some of the broad points of a June 2017 RWSN blog written by Dr Ellie Chowns on communitybased management (CBM) and the ensuing discussion on the RWSN Sustainable Services DGroup, to which many RWSN members contributed .

CBM is the prevalent management model for rural water supply. So what are the issues?
• Lack of accountability: Community management enables government officials and donors alike to abdicate responsibility for ensuring long-term sustainable water services.
• Inefficiency and lack of sustainability: Preventive maintenance is almost never done, repairs are often slow and sub-standard, and committees are unable to collect and save funds.
• Disempowerment: CBM reinforces existing community power relations, thereby breeding conflict rather than strengthening social capital.
• Lack of scalability and dependence on external support: The CBM model has never reliably worked at any scale but is continued due to a lack of viable, or proven alternative. One can always find 'successful' case studies of where it has worked fantastically well – but these tend to be isolated systems, reliant on constant

Bibliographical Information:

Naughton, M. (2017) Community management of water points: more problem than solution?. RWSN Dgroups discussion synthesis , RWSN , Skat , St Gallen, Switzerland

More Information

» RWSN Blog: Still barking up the wrong tree? Community management: more problem than solution

The blog post by Ellie Chowns that kicked off this discussion

» UNC WaSH Briefing Note 6

A briefing note by Clarissa Brocklehurst responding to the Chowns paper.

» Sustainable Services - RWSN community: Join the debate!


Community-Based Management: more problem than solution?
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