Pathways to sustainability: A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis of rural water supply programs

Auteurs : Sara J. Marksa, Emily Kumpel, Jean Guo, Jamie Bartram, Jennifer Davis

Article publié dans : Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 205, 20 December 2018, Pages 789-798

Date de parution : 2018


Abstract : Despite recent progress extending access to drinking water supplies globally, ensuring long-term functionality of rural water infrastructure remains challenging. Past research on rural water project outcomes has used two principal approaches: large-N statistical studies estimating average effect sizes, or case studies providing causal description. Notably lacking is a rigorous comparative analysis of conditions determining sustained service delivery. We use fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to identify causal conditions (“pathways”) leading to sustained functionality of rural water supplies across diverse geographies. Twenty cases were selected through a review of the literature. We identified and coded five conditions to examine their influence on project outcomes for each case. Results reveal three distinct pathways sufficient for achieving sustained functionality: Pathway 1 features piped networks with professionalized, service-oriented management and post-construction support. Pathway 2 features a self-supply approach (e.g., private wells and small piped schemes) delivering water services on premises. Pathway 3 describes community-managed water points (e.g., deep boreholes with handpumps) in the context of freshwater scarcity. Two conditions were common across all pathways: good financial management and user participation in project decisions. Strong management, combined with sufficient financial and technical resources, moderates the influence of physical water availability on service sustainability.

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Publié le 26 décembre 2018