This study was made in Nepal's Tarai plains, where rapid population growth over the past decade has transformed a large number of rural bazaars and roadside hubs into vibrant small towns. This study draws a portrait of a distinctly successful small-town water supply scheme and its service provider, the Murgia Water Users and Sanitation Association. Exploring this particular case with regards to social, technological, financial and organisational systems, and by comparing the performance of this case against 63 other water service providers in Nepal, the study asks: how could there be more of this type of successful water service provider? This scheme was constructed during the bilateral Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Support Programme Phase III, Nepal-Finland cooperation (1999–2005), using the typical rural approach, namely community management, with strong capacity building. Since then the service modality in this study case has evolved towards a professional community-managed service delivery. The success is rooted in good water governance principles: participation, responsiveness, financial transparency, accountability and overall strong commitment and vision, as well as strong technical assistance. They have resulted in re-investment in both the capital maintenance expenditure and into new infrastructure, even into an entirely new water supply scheme.

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