Institutional systems are at the center of water management. Social structure, governmental policies, choice of technologies and individual water habits all bear influence. However, wrong distribution of resources and authoritarian centralism have made effective water governance difficult.
The 80 saw Male’ with groundwater depleted, well water contamination having wave after wave of cholera, shigella or diarrhea spreading among the population.
Realizing the need for efficient water service, the Maldives government acted quickly to separate the two functions held within the Water and Sanitation Authority by forming two separate institutions, Male’ Water and Sanitation Authority as regulator and Male’ Water and Sewerage Company Pvt Ltd holding a monopoly concession for 20 year commercial operation of water services, as water operator with both overseen by the Ministry of Health/Environment.
Perhaps it was the highly reliable 24×7 services being provided by the water operator that GOM shifted its focus from Male’ to the outer islands.
Meanwhile the water company’s strategic direction being shaped under the influence of the heavy weight of the Manager pursued a strategy that centered around an IRR requirement, not fully realizing the risk and share being held by the customers.
This makes one ask about the role of the board? corporate governance, corporate social responsibility? these questions will pave leaning pathways that will be useful for current and future mangers of essential utility services of a country. (to be continued)