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Topic Sheet p
The use of ICT in the Water Sector
Management Information Systems to support regulators and resource management
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential to make a fundamental diﬀerence to the lives of people all over the world. By creating access to information, enabling communication and facilitating transactions, technical solutions can help reaching development objectives in various sectors. As the ﬁeld of ICT for development is inherently multidisciplinary, it oﬀers opportunities for e. g. good governance, health or education. This topic sheet highlights the role of ICT in supporting GTZ projects on water supply and sanitation and water resource management. Water shortages have become a constant challenge in several regions of the world. Many countries are confronted with problems associated with inadequate supply of drinking water, wastewater management and basic sanitation. More than half of the world’s population will suﬀer from water shortages by the year 2015 if this problem is not dealt with. Through the Millennium Development Goals, the international community has committed itself to halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. This requires a number of actions at all levels of development cooperation right up to the international political arena.
On behalf of the German Government, GTZ contributes to achieving these aims. ICT, if applied in line with local conditions, can be a promising instrument towards improved and more eﬀective management of the scarce water resources. Software solutions for regulatory authorities or resource management commissions facilitate their all important work.
ICT to support regulators
Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) services are essential for human life and well-being. Ensuring that good quality water is distributed equitably, reliably and eﬃciently is the objective of the regulator. A task that often proves difﬁcult, because the basis of a sound WSS management is usually missing: reliable information about the quantities and qualities and how the system is managed. An Information Technology based WSS system can add real value. It provides regulators, policy makers and service providers with the basic data for improving water services and with the instruments to measure nationwide coverage. Benchmarking, for example, allows the comparison of WSS competitors and helps identifying good and bad performers. Software solutions can promote accountability and transparency in the water sector. The GTZ has successfully supported the implementation of a digital monitoring
On a political level, the task of the international community is to establish an institutional framework for worldwide action. On a national level, it is necessary to implement modern water policy principles, to create adequate institutional and legal frameworks as well as eﬃcient organisations and eﬀective administrative structures.
Resource information management leads to a better understanding of the complex natural environment on which our lives depend, and how it evolves under the inﬂuence of society. ICT can provide accessable data for rational decision making with respect to environmental issues both in politics and corporate management. GTZ projects focus on a demand-driven implementation of information technologies for IWMR via joint capacity development in order to encourage a responsible usage of the available water resources.
system for water regulation authorities in Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Long-term technical support in combination with a pronounced focus on the human and organisational factor has enabled the regulators to own the process and accordingly, make it sustainable. In Zambia, after the software developed with GTZ was installed, the regulator NWASCO revealed that coverage rates for water in urban areas had to be revised downwards from 90% to 47% compared to MDG monitoring. Accessable knowledge about the sector is crucial for eﬀective strategies on how to reach the water and sanitation MDG targets.
½ ICT can serve as a facilitating medium, it is no suﬃcient condition; ICT can help attain the goal of sustainable development when implemented carefully ½ implementation never completely ﬁnishes; there is a continuous training and preventive maintenance of the software and hardware ½ ownership and sustainability of a new technological system can only be achieved when the (predominantly free and open source) software solution is demandoriented and complemented by capacity development ½ although the context may vary from country to country, there is potential to learn from positive experiences
Lake Chad and the Congo River Basin are amongst the largest natural water resources in Africa. The Lake Chad provides water for more than 20 million people living in the four countries that surround it. The Congo River, with a length of 4,700 km, is the largest of the continent. Being used for drinking water supply, agriculture, ﬁshery and transport, both sources are economically, socially and politically very important for all their riparian countries. Without a functioning transboundary water management concept, these common goods face a progressive degradation. Due to climatic factors and the uncoordinated diversion of river ﬂows Lake Chad has lost almost 90 percent of its original surface area in the past four decades. An integrated water resource management (IWMR) shall counter exploitation of the ecosystem, have positive impacts on the social situation of the population and lead to regional economic growth. Gathering information as a basis to foster cooperation is the central objective of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Commission Internationale du Bassin Congo-Oubangui-Sangha (CICOS). The GTZ provides these authorities with technical and methodological advice on establishing a sound knowledge management system that improves cooperation in resource management between riparian states.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH Sector Project "ICT for Development" Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg 1-5 65760 Eschborn/Germany T +49 61 96 79-0 F +49 61 96 79-1115 E firstname.lastname@example.org I www.gtz.de Design Barbara Reuter E barbarareuter-graﬁk@web.de
Eschborn, July 2009