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Implementation Manual: Water Quality Assurance Fund REAL Water Manual

This manual was prepared to document and disseminate the Water Quality Assurance Fund approach initially piloted in Ghana. Initial evidence supports scaling up the program to contribute to safe management of small, rural water systems.

The Water Quality Assurance Fund is a mechanism wherein dispersed, rural water systems can receive regular, reliable, and professional water quality testing services and interpret data to ensure water safety. It provides a locally accessible standby account to help rural water systems become a more attractive market to urban water quality laboratories in their area. A central laboratory may be more willing to offer monitoring services to water systems with irregular income if they are guaranteed regular payment.

When rural water systems are unable to pay testing fees to the laboratory on time, the Assurance Fund ensures the remittance of fees for monthly testing. Local government authorities can enforce a surcharge when water systems repay the Assurance Fund, to reduce drawdown over time. Most of the time, transactions take place between the testing recipients and laboratory providers.

To set up the Assurance Fund and enroll rural water supplies, a facilitating organization needs to tackle several tasks and engage stakeholders in the process. Providing ongoing implementation support ensures actor coordination and linkages to additional water safety management expertise as needed. This document, developed by USAID’s REAL-Water initiative, outlines the steps needed.

Emerging Trends in Rural Water Management REAL-Water Synthesis Report

This report, developed by USAID’s REAL-Water initiative, synthesizes a desk review of emerging trends in rural water services delivery, with a focus on 12 countries (Ghana, India, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, the Philippines, Uganda, and Zambia), drawn from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) 2021 list of high-priority, priority, and strategically aligned countries. It also maps water service delivery across an array of categories (including institutional and legal arrangements, regulation, monitoring, technical capacities, and financial capacities) and reports on an e-survey conducted among 400 respondents in the rural water supply sector.

Ghana WASH Sector Development Programme (GWASHSDP) 2021-2030

The Ghana Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector Development Programme (GWASHSDP) 2021-2030 provides the framework for inclusive sector planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting for sustainable and universal water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. The main purpose of the programme is to provide a framework for coordinated implementation of activities to achieve national, regional (Africa), and global visions, goals, and targets for integrated water resources management and sustainable WASH services for everyone everywhere in Ghana by 2030.

Financial Innovations for Rural Water Supply in Low-Resource Settings REAL-Water Innovation Overview

Millions of people in rural areas of low- and middle-income countries still lack access to basic water services. In fact, as of 2020, the majority of people without basic water services lived in rural areas. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rural Evidence and Learning for Water (REAL-Water) program is working to address this issue by identifying ways to expand water access and safety in rural areas.

One of the challenges of providing rural water supply financing is that the populations are smaller, more dispersed, and poorer than their urban counterparts. This may reduce opportunities for economies of scale and complete cost recovery. To overcome these challenges, the REAL-Water program is focusing on identifying innovative and promising financing or funding mechanisms that can be used in small villages and dispersed settlements.

This report outlines several innovative financing mechanisms that show potential for benefits exceeding the status quo. These mechanisms include:

Village Savings for Water
Digital Financial Services
Water Quality Assurance Funds
Performance-Based Funding
Development Impact Bonds
Standardized Life-Cycle Costing
Blending Public/Private Finance


Notwithstanding the perceived abundance of water in Ghana, its production and utilisation
for consumptive and non-consumptive uses is not at an optimal level. The country experiences
inadequate water supply in some parts particularly during the dry season. This situation calls
for the efficient and effective management of available water resources.
Ghana has since the mid 1990’s, been implementing a string of reforms in the water sector
aimed at enhancing the efficiency of the production and utilisation of water. These reforms
have culminated in the institutional re-alignment of key institutions in the sector. Despite the
implementation of these reforms, a major concern has been the lack of an effective interface
among key stakeholder institutions with a view to integrating and harmonizing their various
activities. Given this phenomenon, the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, in
concert with other stakeholder institutions and interest groups, in 2004, commenced the
process for the formulation of a consolidated national water policy. This document is the
output of the interactive process initiated.
The National Water Policy is underpinned by the principles enunciated in the Ghana Poverty
Reduction Strategy (GPRS), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the “Africa Water
Vision” of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
The policy document contains sections on integrated water resources management
(including water for energy, food security and transportation), urban and community/small
town water delivery. The policy also highlights the international legal framework for the
domestic and trans-boundary utilisation of water resources.

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