Evaluating the institutional sustainability of an urban water utility: a conceptual framework and research directions

Institutional sustainability (IS) is critical to translating infrastructure investments into actual service delivery. This paper examines IS for urban water utilities, and how its progress could be tracked. Common conceptualisations of IS in extant literature were found inadequate from an evaluation stand point. We conceptualize IS as a capacity rather than a financial issue, and, consistent with a process-based approach, we propose a new evaluation tool e the water utility maturity (WUM) model e which is flexible and considers different levels of IS. The WUM model, which requires further validation/verification, was piloted in two water utilities in South Asia with positive feedback.