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Provincial and Local Governments  

Importance of Provincial and Local Governance Structures

Provincial and local government is centered within the river basins; consequently, local government is closer to water resource "actions" and is in the most appropriate position to assess and effectively articulate national government policies. Local government is also best able to develop regulations that address issues in its jurisdiction, and be able to effectively monitor implementation and adherence.

However, challenges arise when the river basin falls within more than one political administrative zone. In such cases, local government's may try to advance their own agenda to the detriment of others. Existing administrative divisions and regulatory conditions might discourage basin level management of the river basin. River Basin Organisations should be at the foundation of effective river basin planning, development and management. River basin agencies do not in themselves ensure the sustainable development of the resource. They need support from a range of institutions that help determine the demands placed on the resource by economic, social and political change.

Administrative boundaries in the Kunene basin.
Source: AHT GROUP AG 2010
( click to enlarge )

Regarding drinking water supplies, the devolution of responsibilities to local governments can help ensure that service delivery is more attuned to consumer priorities, and that providers are more accountable for their actions, several important issues are raised by devolution (GWP 2000):

  • To achieve efficiency it is important to distance the provider from short-term political interference;
  • The finances of the provider need to be clearly differentiated from the general accounts of the local government unit;
  • To minimise the danger of poor-governance, performance monitoring, benchmarking and some aspects of regulation may be more appropriately entrusted to a higher tier of government or some independent agency;
  • Institutions are needed to ensure that local providers cannot ignore the effects of their actions on downstream water users or other stakeholders in the river basin or catchment;
  • Provision of co-ordination mechanisms may be necessary if the boundaries of local governments fail to cover all customers or if more than one local authority exists in an area;
  • Small municipalities may need to consolidate their water service facilities or activities in order to fully realise economies of scale and scope;
  • It is important that local government recognises that land use planning, economic development and social policies can all have a profound effect on water demand and the production of waterborne waste.

Provincial and Local Government in Angola

In Angola, national water policy aims to decentralise water resources management to autonomous entities at the basin and provincial levels. On the provincial level, the Provincial Directorates for Energy and Water (Direcções Provinciais de Energia e Águas - DPEAs) represent the Ministry of Energy and Water (Ministério da Energia e Águas - MinEA). The ministry is divided into various directorates, departments, sectors and sections, including the Technical Section for Water Systems and Basic Sanitation and the Section for Water Distribution, Consumption and Mobilisation. A group of technicians from the latter section is responsible for the training and support of the Water and Sanitation Groups (Grupos de Água e Saneamento - GAS) at the village level.

The Public Enterprises for Water and Sanitation (Empresas Públicas de Água e Saneamento - EPAS) are responsible for water supply to the urban centres. On the municipal level, a number of Municipal Enterprises for Water has been created since the end of civil war. Many of these enterprises are not yet operational, mostly due to a lack of trained staff and equipment. Basic entities for water management at the Municipality level are the Water Brigades (Brigadas de Água).

The Water and Sanitation Groups at village level are designed to be the most responsive to local water users, although they are not legal entities and often lack adequate support.

Local governance starts at village level.
Source: Tump 2006
( click to enlarge )

Regional and Local Government in Namibia

The Directorate of Rural Water Supply (DRWS) (recently renamed Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination - DWSSC) is subordinated to the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and provides support to community-based water management units at the regional level in Namibia. Local government is also involved in bulk water supply through NamWater.

DWSSC supplies water to rural communities in regions through the local water point committees. NamWater supplies water in bulk to local authorities and municipalities, who in turn distribute it to end users (mainly households or industry). Some local authorities have their own water supplies and are not completely reliant on NamWater.

In accordance with the Namibian decentralisation policy, the responsibility for rural water supply is in the process of decentralisation to Regional Councils (RCs). These already play an important role as stakeholders in the Water and Sanitation Sector as defined in Sections 28 to 30 in Part VI of the Regional Councils Act. RCs should control all aspects of planning and development related to socio-economic, natural resources, land utilisation and infrastructure with specific reference made to water (MAWF 2009).

The Local Authorities Act, Act 23 of 1992 (amended in 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2004) defines the roles and responsibilities of Local Authorities (LAs) in terms of service provision within the water and sanitation sector.

Section 30(1) of the LA Act states that LAs shall have the power to (MAWF 2009):

  • Supply water to the residents in its area for household, business or industrial purposes;
  • Provide, maintain and carry on a system of sewerage and drainage for the benefit of the residents in its area;
  • Provide, maintain and carry on services to such residents for the removal, destruction or disposal of night soil, slop water and all other kinds of refuse or otherwise offensive or unhealthy matter; and
  • Determine by notice in the Gazette the charges, fees and other moneys payable in respect of any service, amenity or facility established and provided by it under this Act or any other law or any matter regulated and controlled by it.

LAs are responsible for providing a reliable water supply of a quality suitable to user's needs, to monitor water supply conditions and to restrict the supply of water to users should water shortages be imminent due to drought conditions or supply interruptions (MAWF 2009).

The last decentralised institution are Water Point Committees (WPC) or Water Point Associations (WPA). The role of WPCs or WPAs is “to manage and control water service provision by the water point or water supply scheme. This will include financial management and billing for water abstraction. This will also include the responsibility of setting water tariffs that would not only cover the bulk supply cost of water, but also provide for the cost of maintenance, replacement and expansion" (MAWF 2009).




Explore the sub-basins of the Kunene River

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