Turning challenges into opportunities in urban water governance: The case of Greater Maputo
Tatiana dos Santos Silva
UNESCO-IHE, NL; Water Governance Consultant, Sustentação – Governança Socioambiental, BR
MSc in Water Conflict Management
This research was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation through the UNESCO-IHE Partnership Research Fund. It was carried out in the framework of the Research Project ‘Uncovering Hidden Dynamics in Slum Environments’. I would like to thank HIDROEX for the financial support to my MSc studies and the generous reviews of Julia Hug, Hind Metwalli and Amena Shrafeddin.
Intense urbanization in African cities challenges the provision of water services. International development cooperation promotes water infrastructure projects to increase cities’ resilience and to address the historical inequalities in water access and distribution. However, those projects fail to effectively implement the decentralization and public participation principles advanced for urban water management with the shift from ‘government to governance’. This failure – aligned with the donor push for the replication of the modern infrastructure ideal in the interventions designed for African cities – prevents international development cooperation and African policy-makers from promoting innovative water governance and long lasting structural changes. Hence, this paper adopts a politicized perspective of water governance to review the decisionmaking process for improving urban water supply in Greater Maputo, Mozambique. I argue that the shift to participatory water governance is only apparent on paper and, as a result, donor interventions do not recognize and support innovative governance at the local level. This case study leads to the conclusion that investments in capacity building for water governance and the promotion of social entrepreneurship for the provision of water services could be employed as means to turn the challenge of sustainable water provision into opportunities to address the social and economic development needed for African cities.
How to Cite:
dos Santos Silva, T., 2015. Turning challenges into opportunities in urban water governance: The case of Greater Maputo. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 3(1), pp.58–70.