IMPACT OF THE POLICY FRAMEWORK AND INSTITUTIONAL SET UP ON URBAN WATER SUPPLY IN MALAWI: THE CASE OF THE LILONGWE WATER BOARD
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Access to safe drinking water has been recognized as a basic human right globally time and time again by various international bodies and commissions. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, has proven to have insufficient water access in the urban areas, due to the fact that population growth and rapid urbanization are overtaking the already inadequate infrastructure, and disparities in potable water availability are widespread. An enabling policy environment coupled with decentralisation have been highlighted to positively affect water service delivery. The study examines the policy and institutional frameworks that exists for urban water supply in Malawi, and their interactions with each other as well as with the water utility, Lilongwe Water Board. Data is collected through key informant interviews with officials from institutions involved in urban water supply and through literature review. Content analysis coupled with thematic analysis is used to analyze the data for key emerging themes. It is found that there is poor coordination between the board and the Lilongwe City Council which is exacerbated by the existing conflicting policies on institutional roles and jurisdictions in urban water supply. Low participation in joint activities as well as the long bureaucratic process affect Lilongwe Water Boards efforts of service delivery. There is a need for both a separate water supply policy and a regulatory body for water service delivery to ensure good water supply. Recommendations for future work on the set up of the water utility itself and the impact on urban water supply have also been made.