investment and costly engineering solutions. As a result reforms are being introduced to address the following (Batley 2004): • Alter pricing structures so that they reflect real costs; • Increase the focus on water management over water supply; • Reduce the role of government to that of policy-maker and regulator;
• Place bulk water supply in a public corporation free of civil service controls;
• Encourage private financing of investment; and • Further decentralise water delivery.
The water sector reforms seek to deal with the mismatch between resource abundance and human settlements (Gumbo and others 2005); to address historical inequalities (Robinson 2002), to manage water resource stock depletion and degradation (Mbaiwa 2004); and, to acknowledge water as a human right.3 The reforms are also a result of better understanding of the connection between water, ecosystems and urbanisation. They include approaches to improve water resources management; to draw water from alternative sources; and to manage watersheds for better water quality and greater yields.
IMPROVING WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
In shifting focus from water supply to water management, two approaches are emerging across some cities in Africa, and these are Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water Demand Management (WDM).
INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT Defined as a process that promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise the economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems (GWP 2000), Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has seen new institutional arrangements and legislation for the water sector. Through institutional reforms governments have devolved power to local stakeholders, creating structures
3. UN Resolution on water as a human right: Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.
such as catchment management authorities. Burkina Faso, Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Swaziland, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania are some of the countries,where governments have devolved water management authority to local structures, including urban areas (Manzungu 2002). In Zimbabwe the Water Act of 1976, which largely provided for the interests of large- scale commercial farming, was replaced by a new water act in 1998, and management authority decentralized to catchment councils (Manzungu 2002). Through IWRM, the focus of water resources management is broadened for water use, planning and watershed management, to include all related practices such as agriculture, forestry and urban planning.
Despite its positive intents of equity, efficiency and sustainability, the IWRM concept also has challenges. Not all governments are willing to devolve power, and rural dwellers are at times suspicious of the motives behind reforms. In the urban areas efforts to fully recover costs have been met with civil society resistance. For example, in 2007 Egypt witnessed 40 civil society protests, which were partly driven by high costs of water (National Council for Services and Social Development 2007). Swatuk (2007) argues that some countries have not been able to speedily reform their water sectors because the new water architecture proposes a profound realignment of decision-making power in already fragile states.
WATER DEMAND MANAGEMENT Water sector reforms have also seen the successful application of Water Demand Management initiatives in some urban areas (Gumbo and others 2005). Water Demand Management includes the estimation of potential savings, which can be made by reducing the amount of water that is wasted. This can be controlled by pricing mechanisms, and technical regulatory measures such as better management of catchments, recycling and investment in infrastructure to reduce leakages. Water Demand Management has been accepted in Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lusaka and Nairobi as the cheapest form of augmenting supply at both utility and national policy- making levels (UN-HABITAT undated). At the national policy level, the willingness to invest in Water Demand Management measures has led to the incorporation of water demand principles and practices into the regulatory frameworks of countries such as Zambia. National regulators used the Lusaka Water Demand Management strategy as a model for developing a national Water