In many countries up to 50% or more of water goes unaccounted for due to a lack of transparency and accountability, with poor services as a result. To often the water crisis is a governance crisis with corruption at its core.

Good governance – integrity, transparency, accountability, and honesty – increases the chances of sustainable and equitable use and delivery of water supply and sanitation services.

Approximately 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Many more cannot enjoy the benefits of water for agriculture, hydropower or business. Lack of good governance is the cause of this, not scarcity; large amounts of water disappear in unmonitored water leakages in pipes and canals, in unauthorized connections to the rich, and illegal tapping by the poor.

Corruption undermines both private and public provision of water and sanitation services. Anti-corruption measures are central to sustainable development, economic efficiency, and social equity of service provisions. Creating awareness of corruption, analysis of the extent and breadth of poor governance practices, coordinated activities for practical interventions (including monitoring and legal penalties for offenders) can all contribute to fairer water management and, ultimately, to better lives.

Organizations and networks such as the Water Integrity Network (WIN) stimulate anti-corruption activities in the water sector worldwide. Similarly, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) does not tolerate fraud; in each country in which it is active, it employs a Country Programme Monitor (apart from the Executive Agency), who accounts for the spending of funds. Assuring transparency and integrity is the foundation of WSSCC’s mission for social and economic development.

The WASH coalition in the Philippines has dealt with corruption in a novel way. They promote low-cost appropriate technologies in water and sanitation provision as a way to minimize local corruption usually involved in the implementation of costly infrastructure.

Last updated: Tue, 11/16/2010 - 17:10