The Global Water Forum (GWF) published a discussion paper that examines transboundary solutions to the periurban water access deficit in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) using case study examples from Bangladesh and India.
The paper, titled ‘Redressing the emerging governance crisis in peri-urban water access: Evidence from South Asia,’ describes challenges in peri-urban water access, including the under-representation of peri-urban areas in government statistics. The paper’s author, Gregory Pierce, argues that this under-representation contributes to a poor understanding of urban-rural dynamics. Pierce identifies the “uncertain status in local governance structures” of peri-urban households as the main obstacle to ensuring adequate water service for such households. He highlights water disparities between urban and rural areas, noting that clean water typically flows into central city areas from the periphery while wastewater effluent flows out from cities to peri-urban areas.
The two examples showcase social entrepreneurship as a solution to peri-urban household water service provision. In Punjab, India, peri-urban and rural communities provide land and raw water access to Water Health International (WHI). WHI then provides over five million people in the communities with potable water at prices below the market rate. Veolia Grameen provides potable water to villages outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both WHI and Veolia Grameen deliver water services at below market prices.
Veolia Grameen sells treated surface water from the peri-urban area to central Dhaka businesses to support the costs of providing water to the villages, while WHI received some donor funding to begin its operations. Pierce concludes that market and ‘needs driven’ solutions, rather than state-led policy solutions, are most common in addressing peri-urban water access.
The GWF is an initiative of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Governance at the Australian National University.
(Publication: Redressing the Emerging Governance Crisis in Peri-urban Water Access: Evidence from South Asia)