Abstract

Water source protection is essential to ensure the provision of safe drinking water. In Haiti, and elsewhere, this is a dynamic requirement affected by population growth, not least in urban areas. In this paper, the principles of legitimacy, integration, inclusiveness, and capacity have been used to gauge and understand the institutional environment regarding water source protection for urban drinking water provision. The research was based on a review of official documents and key informant interviews. The absence of robust legislation can result in a misinterpretation of institutional responsibilities with respect to both water and land management. The legitimacy of some key institutions is questioned due to unclear legal status, particularly when they are directly appointed by central government. Some institutions have gained recognised authority as a result of their sectoral prominence but lack legal backing. Particular initiatives may foster the integration of stakeholders but, without involving all necessary sectors, agencies and levels of government, their sustainability is questionable. Technical, structural and financial institutional capacities appear limited, hampering the implementation of initiatives and their continuity, also compounded by institutional dependence on external funds and high turnover of administrators.

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