International Development Planning Review

In the pipeline: the governance of water supply to urban informal settlements

International Development Planning Review (2016), 38, (3), 255–273.

Abstract

This paper explores the politics and governance issues underpinning small-scale informal service providers, to extract insights into how water provisioning for the poor works in the periphery of large cities. Drawing on exploratory field research in a large informal settlement at the urban fringe of New Delhi, we show that while informal network water providers fill a gap left by public delivery systems, residents are often captive consumers caught in a low service level trap. Moreover, dominant interests have little incentive to change this situation. The research indicates however, that a shift to better quality services can be realised and that the seeds of change lie in the evolving relationships between key stakeholders. Three distinct shifts in the balance of relationships are examined, framed by larger changes in the socio-economic and political environment.

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 Google Scholar

Wayne, C. (1975) Politics and the migrant poor in Mexico City, Stanford, Stanford University Press. Politics and the migrant poor in Mexico City Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Ackerman, J. (2005) ‘Social accountability in the public sector: a conceptual discussion’, Social Development Papers, Washington, Dc, World Bank. ‘Social accountability in the public sector: a conceptual discussion’ Social Development Papers Google Scholar

Bakker, K. (2008) ‘The ambiguity of community: debating alternatives to private sector provision of urban water supply’, Water Alternatives, 1(1), 236-52. ‘The ambiguity of community: debating alternatives to private sector provision of urban water supply’ Water Alternatives 1 236 52 Google Scholar

Batley, R. (2004) ‘The politics of service delivery reform’, Development and Change, 35(1), 31-56. ‘The politics of service delivery reform’ Development and Change 35 31 56 Google Scholar

Batley, R. (2006) ‘Engaged or divorced? Cross-service findings on government relations with non-state service providers’, Public Administration and Development, 26. ‘Engaged or divorced? Cross-service findings on government relations with non-state service providers’ Public Administration and Development 26 Google Scholar

Caseley, J. (2003) ‘Blocked drains and open minds multiple accountability relationships and improved service delivery performance in an Indian city’ (IDS Working Paper 211), Brighton, Institute of Development Studies. ‘Blocked drains and open minds multiple accountability relationships and improved service delivery performance in an Indian city’ Google Scholar

Castro, J. E. (2004) ‘Urban water and the politics of citizenship: the case of the Mexico city Metropolitan area in the 1980s and 1990s’, Environment and Urbanization, 36, 327-46. ‘Urban water and the politics of citizenship: the case of the Mexico city Metropolitan area in the 1980s and 1990s’ Environment and Urbanization 36 327 46 Google Scholar

Chaplin, S. E. (2011) ‘Indian cities, sanitation and the state: politics and the failure to provide’, Environment and Urbanization, 23(1), 57-70. ‘Indian cities, sanitation and the state: politics and the failure to provide’ Environment and Urbanization 23 57 70 Google Scholar

Claasen, M. and Alpin-Lardies, C. (2010) Social accountability in Africa practitioners experiences and lessons, Pretoria, Africa, IDASA-ANSA. Social accountability in Africa practitioners experiences and lessons Google Scholar

Chng, N. R. (2012) ‘Regulatory mobilisation and service delivery at the edge of the regulatory state’, Regulation and Governance, 6(3), 344-61. ‘Regulatory mobilisation and service delivery at the edge of the regulatory state’ Regulation and Governance 6 344 61 Google Scholar

Coelho, K., Kamath, L. and Vijaybasker, M. (2011) ‘Infrastructures of consent: interrogating citizen participation mandates in Indian urban governance’ (IDS Working Paper No. 362), Brighton, Institute of Development Studies. ‘Infrastructures of consent: interrogating citizen participation mandates in Indian urban governance’ Google Scholar

Conan, H. (2005) Small piped water networks: helping local entrepreneurs to invest, Manila, The Asian Development Bank. Small piped water networks: helping local entrepreneurs to invest Google Scholar

Cross, J. (1988) Informal politics: street vendors and the state in Mexico City, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press. Informal politics: street vendors and the state in Mexico City Google Scholar

Dasgupta, P. and Puri, S. (2005) ‘Private provision of public services in unauthorised colonies — a case study of Sangam Vihar’ (unpublished Working Paper), New Delhi, center for civil Society. ‘Private provision of public services in unauthorised colonies — a case study of Sangam Vihar’ Google Scholar

Delhi Jal Board, www.delhijalboard.nic.in (accessed 25 July 2011). Google Scholar

Desai, S. (2011) ‘Renegotiating democracy’, Times of India, 22 August 2011. ‘Renegotiating democracy’ Times of India 22 August 2011 Google Scholar

Devarajan, S. and Widlund, I. (eds) (2007) Politics of service delivery in democracies, EDGI, Stockholm, SIDA. Politics of service delivery in democracies Google Scholar

Esguerra, J. and Villanueva, E. (2009) ‘Pathways out of patronage politics: new roles for communities, new rules for politics in the Philippines’, IDS Bulletin, 40(6), 13-21. ‘Pathways out of patronage politics: new roles for communities, new rules for politics in the Philippines’ IDS Bulletin 40 13 21 Google Scholar

Gaventa, J. and McGee, R. (2010) Citizen action and national policy reform, London, Zed Books. Citizen action and national policy reform Google Scholar

Jha, S., Rao, V. and Woolcock, M. (2005) ‘Governance in the gullies: democratic responsiveness and leadership in Delhi’s slums’, World Development, 35(2). ‘Governance in the gullies: democratic responsiveness and leadership in Delhi’s slums’ World Development 35 Google Scholar

Joshi, A. and Houtzager, P. P. (2012) ‘Widgets or watchdogs? Conceptual explorations in social accountability’, Public Management Review, 14(2), 145-62. ‘Widgets or watchdogs? Conceptual explorations in social accountability’ Public Management Review 14 145 62 Google Scholar

Kariuki, M. and Schwartz, J. (2005) ‘Small scale providers of water supply and electricity’ (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3727), Washington Dc, The World Bank. ‘Small scale providers of water supply and electricity’ Google Scholar

Lalchandani, N. (2015) ‘Sangam Vihar MLA jal board V-c’, Times of India, Delhi edition, 17 July 2015. ‘Sangam Vihar MLA jal board V-c’ Times of India Google Scholar

McGee, R. and Gaventa, J. (2012) ‘Shifting power? Assessing the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives’ (IDS Working Paper No. 383), Brighton, Institute of Development Studies. ‘Shifting power? Assessing the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives’ Google Scholar

McGranahan, G. and Owen, D. L. (2006) ‘Local water companies and the urban poor’ (Human Settlements Discussion Paper Series), London, International Institute for Environment and Development. ‘Local water companies and the urban poor’ Google Scholar

McNeil, M. and Mumvuma, T. (2006) Demanding good governance: a stocktaking of social accountability initiatives by civil society in Anglophone Africa, World Bank Institute, Washington Dc, The World Bank. Demanding good governance: a stocktaking of social accountability initiatives by civil society in Anglophone Africa Google Scholar

Njiru, C. and Albu, M. (2004) ‘Improving access to water through support to small water-providing enterprises’, Small Enterprise Development, 15(2), 30-36. ‘Improving access to water through support to small water-providing enterprises’ Small Enterprise Development 15 30 36 Google Scholar

Rose, P. (2006) ‘Collaborating in education for all? Experiences of government support for non-state provision of basic education in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa’, Public Administration and Development, 26(3), 219-29. ‘Collaborating in education for all? Experiences of government support for non-state provision of basic education in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa’ Public Administration and Development 26 219 29 Google Scholar

Sansom, K. (2006) ‘Supporting non-state providers of water services’ (Paper for DFID Policy Division), Loughborough, WELL Resource centre. ‘Supporting non-state providers of water services’ Google Scholar

Schaub-Jones, D. (2008) ‘Harnessing entrepreneurship in the water sector: expanding water services through independent network operators’, Waterlines, 27(4), 270-88. ‘Harnessing entrepreneurship in the water sector: expanding water services through independent network operators’ Waterlines 27 270 88 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Van Dijk, M. P. (2008) ‘Role of small-scale independent providers in water and sanitation’, International Journal of Water, 4(3-4), 275-89. ‘Role of small-scale independent providers in water and sanitation’ International Journal of Water 4 275 89 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Wayne, C. (1975) Politics and the migrant poor in Mexico City, Stanford, Stanford University Press. Politics and the migrant poor in Mexico City Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

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Author details

Kacker, Suneetha Dasappa

Joshi, Anuradha