WUM model: emerging tool for evaluating institutional capacity of urban water utilities

Urban water utilities in the world’s developing regions are faced with challenges of scaling up services to cope with the rapid rate of urbanisation, and sustaining the service delivery. Increasingly, it is being recognised in development management that institutional capacity is a precursor for sustainable service delivery. This paper discusses the findings of a recent study funded by the World Bank, which, using case studies in Asia, examined the various conceptualisations of institutional sustainability, institutional capacity and capacity development, in the context of urban water services. Consistent with a process-based approach, and adapting concepts from organisational maturity models, the authors propose a new evaluation tool – the Water Utility Maturity (WUM) model. The outline WUM model was piloted with utilities in South Asia, and was found to be promising. The WUM model is flexible and considers different levels of institutional sustainability.