The article discusses the level of user satisfaction with actual handpump service levels and performance of service providers. In this paper, we outline some contradiction between actual service levels, performance of service providers and perception of water users. The findings suggest that users appeared satisfied with quantity and reliability of water facilities. In contrast, they were not satisfied with the time it takes them to access water, especially when the quantity of water diminishes. The sad irony is that tariffs are perceived affordable yet users are unwilling to pay for water. Their responses paint a picture of a payment system that is geared at reactive maintenance over preventative maintenance regime. It is worth noting here that this phenomenon raises questions on the sustainability of water systems when sound financial management is key to sustaining services. Service providers were perceived to perform better than they actually did. Perhaps this was due to lack of information and ignorance on the roles of service providers. In this regard it is imperative that the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), implementing partners, the district assemblies and Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs) take steps to address the technical, social, financial and institutional factors during the planning, implementation and post-construction support which invariably affect sustainability.

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