Analyzing the potential of community water systems: the case of AguaClara
Successful maintenance of water provision has as much to do with the ongoing governance of these systems as the technology that goes into building them. This governance generally occurs at the community level. Most water systems are small and located in areas where there is generally not the profitability necessary to entice private investment. Understanding how community management can improve is therefore essential to solving water provision problems around the world. This paper develops a three part framework for analyzing water projects through a focus on technology, management and governance. The framework draws on research on collective action and various forms of capital as they relate to technology (natural and physical capital), management (financial and human capital) and governance (social and political capital). We demonstrate the usefulness of the framework by studying AguaClara, a program that has helped seven Honduran communities build eight water treatment plants and set up functioning systems of governance.