1 The use of cost information in planning and decision making in rural water and sanitation service delivery in Ghana
Updated - Thursday 11 November 2010
Authors: Imoro Braimah, Kwabena Nyarko and Patrick Moriarty
The sustainable delivery of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in rural and small towns in Ghana is threatened by high levels of system malfunction and breakdown. To contribute to the understanding of factors affecting long term sustainable service delivery, this study examined the planning process for delivering sustainable WASH services particularly with respect to the existing and potential uses of cost information in WASH decision making.
The study reveals that the use of cost information in district water and sanitation planning is limited to the cost of providing and operating new facilities together with some limited cost information on replacement and capital maintenance. The planning process does not systematically address the full range of costs required once construction has taken place to ensure the smooth and indefinite provision of services. Even though some plans may give an indication of the likely cost of operating the WASH facilities, this is not often translated into the allocation of adequate financial resources to take care of all operational costs. Planning and budgeting for capital maintenance is often on an ad hoc basis. This results in significant proportions of non-functional WASH facilities.
This paper discusses possible use of cost information to strengthen and improve the planning process and hence service delivery.