Spiralling low-income settlements are a big challenge to urban water utilities of developing countries. To extend and maintain water services to these settlements, urban water utilities need to develop innovative solutions for overcoming various physical/technical, institutional, structural/legal and financial/economic constraints associated with these informal areas. This paper draws from documented pilot projects of implementing community-managed Water Safety Plans (WSPs) in various developing countries, and synthesises necessary ingredients for effective implementation of WSPs in low-income urban settlements. Urban water utilities need to partner with community members, but the former should keep a facilitating/overseeing role, given the overly technical nature of WSPs. The terms of the partnership should be mutually agreed and well documented; the utility should allow full participation of the relevant community members in the overall Operation and Maintenance (O&M) plan for the low-income settlement, in order to enhance community ownership of the water supply system, and continuously develop the capacity of relevant community members. The relevant community members should be facilitated, through participatory approaches, to develop bespoke community-based WSPs along with simple monitoring tools. Implementing community-managed WSPs will be easier and more effective if O&M systems and community management approaches are already institutionalised within the water utility.

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