Water Supply and Sanitation in The Gambia Turning Finance into Services for 2015 and Beyond
Water Supply and Sanitation in The Gambia
Turning Finance into Services for 2015 and Beyond
The water supply and sanitation sector in The Gambia has been evolving gradually in the last two decades, in response
to rising demand and the challenges of maintaining sector related infrastructure constructed as a response to Sahelian
drought in the 1970s and 1980s. An important achievement has been the formulation and adoption of the National
Water Resources Policy in 2006 based on an integrated approach to water resources management. The Policy calls
for institutional restructuring and the development of an implementation strategy and regulatory framework.
The delay in implementing these and other reforms continues to hamper the sector’s development. Reforms in sanitation have
been slow, with the first draft policy document formulated in 2010. As a result, sanitation continues to be fragmented
among different agencies, with little coordination.
It is expected that the reforms will create the needed enabling environment for improved service delivery both
in terms of quantity and quality. The Gambia’s challenge is to implement the reforms by developing strategies
and investment plans, and undertaking the necessary institutional restructuring to further clarify roles and
responsibilities, whilst at the same time significantly scaling up resources and systems for better delivery of services.
The rate of progress on sanitation coverage is slow and at current rates of progress only half of the population will
have access to safe sanitation by 2015. For the water supply subsector, significant progress has been made but this
needs to be sustained to ensure sector targets are met.
Government financial allocation to water supply is still low with the bulk of investment funds coming from donors.
Estimates of investment requirements suggest that additional funding will be required for capital investment,
particularly rehabilitation of existing facilities. For sanitation, there is no official policy on cost sharing, though there is
an implicit assumption that households will meet hardware costs for on-site sanitation but not for sewerage. This
underscores the need for an improved promotion and marketing program to encourage households to invest in
sanitation as well as a reassessment of the equity of publicly funded sewerage.
Significant improvements can still be made throughout the service delivery pathway through which finance is turned
into services. Upstream, the formulation of a national policy for sanitation, and completion of the separation and
clarification of subsector institutional roles are vital.
The country lacks a comprehensive overall water supply and sanitation sector development program—this makes it
difficult to establish sector investment priorities and ensure better coordination with donors. There is also no structured
mechanism for sector monitoring and performance evaluation. It is expected that the introduction of Sector- Wide Approach (SWAp) as already proposed by the government will help address some of these constraints.
In addition, coordination, disbursement, and expenditure of finance can still be improved to make the most of
government and donor allocations to the sector.
Moving downstream, aspects for developing and sustaining services are relatively stronger, although issues such as
equity of resource allocation—at local level in rural areas, and in the absence of a clear strategy for pro-poor urban
water supply—can be significantly improved.
The second AMCOW Country Status Overview (CSO2) has been produced in collaboration with the Government of
The Gambia and other stakeholders.
An AMCOW Country Status Overview
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