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Regulating CWIS - Lessons Leant

Pleased to report that the IWA Regulating CWIS project has not published the Lessons Learnt document: see R_CWIS_Lessons_Learned_WEB_central.pdf (

Delivering CWIS needs regulators, because regulators have the expertise of finding the pragmatic balance between the policy and standards set by policymakers and legislatures, and the service providers, who need to access the funding (tariffs & taxes), repayable financing and human resources to deliver the service.

Regulators (and their equivalents) in a wide variety of contexts have shown that they can make a significant difference in nudging forwards the monopoly piped water supply sector, empowering service providers to improve their performance for the benefit of their customers, whilst challenging them through comparative competition, as well as penalising failures.

Now comes the bigger challenge of asking regulators, particularly in lower-income countries, to extend their art of compromising beyond overseeing limited monopoly piped sewer networks, with limited wastewater treatment, usually supported by subsidies from the water tariff.

Regulatory oversight needs to be extended to the service providers of non-sewered sanitation’ (NSS) in formal and informal housing areas, with NSS needing the on-site sanitation service chain of household containment, septic pit/tank emptying, safe transport, and necessary delivery to a public faecal sludge treatment & reuse plant. For CWIS, the mandated service provider is expected to enable and oversee subcontracted elements of the total NSS service potentially delivered by private small and medium enterprises, community-based and non-governmental organisations as well as the public sector.

Every country has its own regulatory frameworks and structures which straddle a wide spectrum where power and priorities vary significantly, with no ‘best approach’. The objective of this initiative is to support and inspire regulators to catalyse sanitation service delivery in their own context.

The case studies:

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