Construction of water and sanitation infrastructures can enhance people's health and well-being. Problems with operation of services and maintenance of equipment can reverse these gains.

Regular operation and maintenance are indispensable to ensure long-term provision of water and sanitation services.

Operation and maintenance activities rarely encompass only technical issues. Managerial, social, financial, and institutional issues also play roles in advancing infrastructure sustainability.

There are a myriad of ways to implement effective operation and maintenance of rural water supply and sanitation services in developing countries. Community participation is one way to achieve this. Committees of users (ideally gender balanced) can organize responsibility for the operation and maintenance of a system.

This requires adequate training, both technical and organizational, and a commitment to a sustainable operation. Costing calculations and the introduction of fees – however small, in cash or inkind – are in almost all cases necessary, and a vital part of participatory planning and community sensitization.

Another way to achieve effective operation and maintenance is through private or public enterprises. Such enterprises should work with local authorities and government bodies responsible for control of quality, consistency, and equity of services.

Regardless of which measures are applied to a local situation, the inclusion of operation and maintenance of any planned system remains a vital component of its continuing success – provision of  sustainable water supply and sanitation services.



Last updated: Mon, 11/08/2010 - 18:35