GoAL WaSH Tajikistan
- Support the development and promotion of effective regulatory framework for the drinking water supply and sanitation sector: separation of roles (policy, regulation and management), tariff policy improvement, de-monopolization and private sector involvement.
- Support to consumer rights protection mechanism for drinking water supply and sanitation sector: (a) implementation of dispute resolution mechanisms for drinking water supply and sanitation services; (b) render legal services for the consumers and (c) support establishment of consumer voice and feedback mechanisms in pilot areas to improve information and accountability of water supply organizations and increase responsible consumer behavior and participation.
The legislative framework for the rural drinking water and sanitation sector in Tajikistan needs to be improved. The way policies are formulated, interpreted and applied actively restricts investment. Where existing policies have been reformed these new policies are often not implemented due to a lack of knowledge, skills and necessary resources at the level of the district implementing agency. Moreover, as the result of heavy subsidization of water supply services during the Soviet Era, willingness to pay full-cost recovery tariffs has not been institutionalized.
Policy reforms are generally slow and continuous processes, and in particular a challenging process in Tajikistan. However, given the approach adopted by GoAL WaSH in Tajikistan with regards to linking key policy issues around tariff policies to a more sustainable provision of drinking water supply and sanitation services on the ground, the key state agencies and institutions acknowledge the need for policy improvements. They see an opportunity to improve drinking water supply and sanitation services as long as a balanced support is given to both duty-bearers, such as water supply organizations, and rights holders (consumers).
The project has adopted a balanced approach which implies (a) a new tariff methodology for rural water systems and training water service providers in tariff setting and (b) application of consumer rights protection mechanisms and strengthening relationships between service providers and consumers.
In 2018 GoAL WaSH is supporting the establishment of a new management model for rural water management in Hamadoni district. This model includes a trust-based contract signed between the communities and the local operator. Roles and responsibilities of the operator have been identified. An appropriate water tariff has been established (based on methodology previously developed with support of GoAL WaSH) and approved by the regulatory agency.
• A methodology has been developed to introduce a unified tariff setting mechanism for water supply and sanitation systems. The aim is to improve efficiency and create a balance between different interests. 12 operators of rural water supply systems participated in a training on the methodology and developed new tariff schemes, determining their full-cost recovery tariffs which were agreed upon with the regulating agency. At the end of the project all operators had improved their tariff collection rates.
• A practical guide is available to make it possible to calculate the costs a full-cost recovery tariff scheme. Though primarily aimed at rural water supply, it is also applicable for urban water supply and sanitation services.
• Public Advisory Councils (PACs) have been established in water supply companies to protect the rights and interests of consumers. In many places they are very active, with costumer filing inquiries and complaints that companies must respond to.
• A network of volunteers give legal consultative services to water consumers. The volunteers keep regular contact with professional lawyers of the Consumers Union of Tajikistan, and organize trainings on water integrity, consumer rights protection and dispute resolution.