Public water utility versus private, the case of Burao and Borama, Somaliland: a comparison of PPP and semi-state water utility management models

2018-02-12T15:11:03Z (GMT) by Faisal Hashi Dara Johnston Sahr Kemoh
Somaliland is a water scarce, drought prone country. Water is a precious resource and an important public good. The public private partnership (PPP) model has demonstrated that people will benefit from the private management of water, if the public’s interest are met. PPP is relatively new concept to Somaliland in the Water Sector and has shown potential to be scaled up. This paper will compare and contrast the public sector agency and PPP models in two towns in Somaliland. Often, fragile countries like Somaliland lack the capacity and will for sustainability. The Ministry of Water Resources and UNICEF, under a four year EU funded project “Improving Urban Water Service Delivery in Somaliland”, have worked together with the respective municipal authorities to develop both models. The key focus of this project included management and operational issues, regulatory framework and performance monitoring of water service providers, capacity development and Pro-Poor regulatory measures. It aims to ensure that well-planned investment in more efficient water systems in selected towns is underpinned by a common, Somaliland-wide approach to service delivery with better public-private arrangements, a more capable public oversight, and a stronger focus on service delivery to the most vulnerable. Recent research, commissioned under the project, demonstrates that both models are viable. In the case of the public utility model in Burao, it almost collapsed in 2010 due poor management if it were not for the timely intervention of the Ministry of Water Resources. The PPP model introduced in Boroma town since 2003 has worked relatively well but the need to review the performance monitoring and pro-poor regulatory measures were recognized in 2013. Both models have one new aspect in common, an empowered water user associations which advocate for the rights of the consumers – a significant game changer.