Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Sustainable management of piped water supply infrastructure in developing communities
Author: Ermilio, Jordan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 8043
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
As the international development community continues to identify the sustainability of water infrastructure as an important development goal, the need for technical performance-monitoring is significant. A number of research initiatives have identified limitations with respect to current strategies for monitoring sustainability. These studies suggest that progress monitoring and proxy indicators used to evaluate the Millennium Development Goals, are not sufficient for measuring the Sustainable Development Goals. Whereas, progress can be viewed as a discrete and linear variable, sustainability is complex and continuous in nature. As a result, water development goals that call for "ensuring availability and sustainable management of water", require research initiatives that use more objective and continuous monitoring to move the sector beyond progress monitoring. In addition, there is a need for research that employs performance monitoring methods that are intended to improve local management and inform utility operations. The research associated with this study addresses issues related to the sustainable management of piped water supply infrastructure in low-income developing communities. Projects site locations included seven water systems in Madagascar that used a public-private-partnership model, and twelve water systems in Nicaragua that employed a community management model. To explore relationships between system performance and water management, analytical methods were used to measure water quantity and water quality characteristics and surveys were used to measure strength of management. Water quantity performance included the continuous monitoring of water levels in storage tanks which were used to evaluate reliability and availability of water. Water quality performance was analyzed based on percent compliance with international standards and field methods for measuring microbial, chemical and physical constituents. Strength of management (SoM) was based on surveys and interviews that were used to evaluate human resources, system administration, operation and maintenance, asset management and financial management. The results were triangulated using household customer-satisfaction surveys, and an exploratory analysis was conducted using univariate and multivariate linear regression. The results from this study have identified links between system performance and SoM, and key findings suggest that strong management is essential to preventing failure but not necessarily related to ensuring success. In terms of water quantity, the results show significant evidence that good management results in higher reliability and availability of water services when compared with poor management. Despite this, no evidence was found that strong management guarantees higher levels of water quantity performance. Further investigation into the relationship between SoM and water availability revealed that strong management is essential to providing minimum basic needs of water and that the strong community managed systems in Nicaragua, provide higher volumes of water as compared to the strong privately managed systems in Madagascar. In addition, SoM showed a positive relationship with the percentage of days that the systems provided 20 liters per person per day. In terms of water quality the results suggest that there is no evidence of a relationship between SoM and overall water quality compliance within the system. However, there was significant evidence of a strong relationship between SoM and changes in water quality within the system. In this regards water quality improved from the source to the distribution system as the strength of management increased between systems. The conclusions from this study have raised some important questions with respect to monitoring progress and measuring performance. Given the unique nature of each system and the non-discrete nature of sustainability, a shift is needed to more objective and continuous monitoring techniques. Furthermore, the need to measure the "availability and sustainable management" of water, justifies developing new tools to empower local operators to improve water services. Also, a shift in the focus from progress to performance, should coincide with a change in the dialog from beneficiaries to customers in that, customer satisfaction is essential for long-term sustainability and can be an effective way to monitor both progress and performance. Recommendations associated with this study include using customer satisfaction tools as a strategy for monitoring water development goals and developing smart technologies to enable local management teams to improve operation and maintenance. In addition, a shift to performance-monitoring would coincide with the needs of development organizations to show evidence of long-term sustainability of water infrastructure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified ; Sustainable management ; Water Infrastructure ; Developing Country ; water utility performance ; Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 ; Performance monitoring ; Water management