Abstract

The abundant praise awarded for the development of the urban water services sector in Burkina Faso stands in stark contrast with the development of the rural water services sector. This article examines the funding of water infrastructure in four small villages in Burkina Faso. The article finds that public funding for water infrastructure for these municipalities is largely nonexistent. First of all, central government makes very little funding available for rural areas. Funding that is made available is then also prioritized for regions that already are relatively well covered. Secondly, the municipalities themselves also prioritize other sectors over the water sector for the investment of locally generated revenue. As a result, these municipalities rely on donor funding for developing water supply in their villages. This dependence not only leaves these municipalities vulnerable to shifts in donor funding but can also lead to inequalities as some municipalities are better at attracting donor funds than others. Some small towns are thus confronted with a double bias. First an urban bias in which the majority of public finance goes to urban centres. Second, by a donor-bias in which some towns are favoured for project implementation due to favourable site characteristics.

Introduction

In 2015, the Joint Monitoring Program estimated that 663 million people still lack access to improved water sources (WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2015)1. The same report highlights how Burkina Faso met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on drinking water by suggesting that 61% of the population gained access since 1990 resulting in an overall water coverage figure of 82%. The discussion of the impressive water coverage achievements of Burkina Faso are usually accompanied by a discussion of ONEA, the Office National de l'Eau et de l'Assainissement (ONEA), which is responsible for water supply provisioning in 50 urban centres in Burkina Faso. ONEA is often commended on how, through performance-based management, the water utility has managed to improve performance. In fact, ONEA managed to increase water coverage for its areas from about 50% in 2001 to well over 80% by 2014. Particularly impressive are the coverage figures for the capital city Ouagadougou. Despite being Sub-Saharan Africa's fastest growing city with an annual growth rate of 7.5%, ONEA managed to increase service coverage from 50% in 2000 to 86% in 20142 (van den Berg & Danilenko, 2017). Moreover, ONEA has been able to do this whilst still being able to cover operational costs and part of its investment costs (van den Berg & Danilenko, 2017).

Impressive as the performance of ONEA is, the abundant praise of ONEA obscures a very different water supply reality that characterizes rural areas of Burkina Faso. Whereas urban water coverage exceeds 97%, rural water coverage reaches only 76% (WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2015). If national statistics are used instead of JMP figures, the coverage rate drops to 65 percent, which is even short of the 74 percent target established for the MDGs (INSD & MEA, 2015). Moreover, according to figures presented by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program the percentage of the rural population that have access to water drops to 0% when the criterion of piped on-premise connections is added. This means that gains in water coverage has mainly been through low-cost technologies. The urban-rural imbalances in water coverage are also reflected in the financial contributions from the national Government of Burkina Faso for water infrastructure development. The contribution of the central government to water services show a strong bias towards water supply in urban centres despite the fact that between 69% and 77% of the Burkinabe population lives in areas that are officially classified as being rural3. As highlighted by Figure 1, from 2008 to 2014 between 68% and 83% of central government expenditure on water was allocated to urban centres. The financing bias is also visible in the financing gaps for rural and urban water supply. A study into the financing of water services in Burkina Faso suggested that the financing gap for rural water supply stood at US$ 48 million, whilst the financing gap for urban water supply amounted to US$ 28 million (WSP, 2011:9). Given that per capita cost of service provision in rural areas are higher than in urban areas due to lower economies of density and economies of scale (Pietila, 2006) the financing bias translates into even greater inequalities in terms of the levels of service enjoyed by consumers.

Fig. 1.

Central government expenditure on urban and rural water in 2008–2014. Sources:MEA, 2016; OANDA, 2016; World Bank, 2016.

Fig. 1.

Central government expenditure on urban and rural water in 2008–2014. Sources:MEA, 2016; OANDA, 2016; World Bank, 2016.

In this article, we focus on this neglected side of the Burkina Faso water sector by examining the funding of water infrastructure in small villages in Burkina Faso. This is done by examining water infrastructure funding of four municipalities: Houndé, Komsilga, Banfora and Moussoudougou. Developing these case studies was done by undertaking a total of 43 semi-structured interviews with local, regional, and central governmental officials and (inter)national water sector experts between November 2016 and February 2017.

The article finds that public funding for water infrastructure for these municipalities is largely nonexistent. First of all, central government makes very little funding available for rural areas. Funding that is made available is then also prioritized for regions that already are relatively well covered. Secondly, the municipalities themselves also opt to not invest locally generated revenue into water supply infrastructure. Instead other sectors, such as health and education, are prioritized by municipalities. Instead of public funding, these municipalities chose to rely heavily on external aid and donor funding for developing water supply in their villages. This dependence has two important consequences. First, it leaves these municipalities vulnerable to shifts in donor funding and requires municipalities to accept donor objectives and demands in order to access these funds. Secondly, not all municipalities have the same ability to attract external aid funding. Particularly the least developed municipalities appear to have the greatest difficulty in attracting sufficient funding for the development of water infrastructure. This can contribute to growing inequities regarding water services between municipalities in Burkina Faso.

In developing this article, we first elaborate on the institutional arrangements in the Burkinabe water sector. In particular we explain the public financing structure of the water sector. Next the article discusses the four case studies and identifies the different sources of funding that these towns have access to. The article continues by analyzing what factors allow a municipality to be an attractive partner for donors. The article concludes with a discussion of these findings and the consequences that this entails for the four towns in terms of the development of their water systems.

Institutional arrangements and public financing of water supply in Burkina Faso

The responsibilities for water and sanitation service provision are shared among a number of organizations. Below the different organizations and with their responsibilities in terms of water and sanitation service provision are presented and summarized in Figure 2. In discussing these arrangements, particular focus is on the role of these organizations in the public funding of water services.

Fig. 2.

Institutional arrangement for water supply in Burkina Faso. Source: primary data.

Fig. 2.

Institutional arrangement for water supply in Burkina Faso. Source: primary data.

Ministry of Water and Sanitation and the General Directorate for Potable Water

The Ministry of Water and Sanitation (MEA) is the national government body responsible for the development of the national priorities for water and sanitation in Burkina Faso. Within the Ministry, the General Directorate for Potable Water (DGEP) is responsible for water supply4. To achieve the MDGs, the MEA and DGEP5 established the 2007–2015 National Program for Water and Sanitation (DGRE, 2006). In light of the SDGs, the DGEP has established the 2016–2030 National Program for Potable Water focusing specifically on the provisioning of potable water (DGEP, 2015). The 2016–2030 National Program for Potable Water has an estimated cost of about US$ 2 billion and aims to achieve universal access to potable water by 2030. The DGEP monitors progress in the sector, searches for funding, and maintains the requirements of funding agreements6.

The Ministry of Water and Sanitation has two ways of channelling financial resources to municipalities. One channel transfers funds to the Regional Directorate for Water and Sanitation (DREA), which then distributes the funds to municipalities. The second channel directly funds the municipality for water infrastructure development. Between 2007 and 2015, the national government transferred just a small proportion of their public expenditure to the DREAs or directly to the municipalities. The national government transferred 20 percent of public expenditure for the DREA. However, the transfers to DREAs also support the operations and administration of these organizations, which means that fewer than the 20 percent resources transferred were actually available for water infrastructure development at the municipal level7. Direct transfers for the development of water infrastructure to municipalities only represented 8 percent of public expenditure on water supply to municipalities.

Regional Directorate for Water and Sanitation

Some national functions related to the 2007–2015 National Program for Water and Sanitation were deconcentrated to the DREAs (DGRE, 2006). Each of the 13 regions have a DREA, which supports the municipalities in their water and sanitation service provision. Specifically in the 2007–2015 National Program for Water and Sanitation, the DREAs are responsible for: (1) coordinating implementation; (2) supporting the municipalities in developing their municipal development plans for water and sanitation; (3) measuring progress towards development objectives; and (4) distributing financing for infrastructure development (DGRE, 2006; MEA & DGESS, 2016). In the new 2016–2030 National Program for Potable Water, DREAs are responsible for constructing new water tower systems and multi-village water distribution systems, while continuing their support for municipalities and promoting private-public partnerships (DGEP, 2015).

National Office for Water and Sanitation

ONEA is a state-run company that is responsible for water and sanitation service provision in urban areas, which is defined as settlements of 10,000 people or more (ONEA, 2016). The provision of urban water services by ONEA can be organized in two ways. First, ONEA can provide direct water service provision through a three year contract with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation8. There are currently 50 urban centres serviced by ONEA under this contract with the National Government9. Second, municipalities may delegate water service provisioning to ONEA through a contract that is entered into by ONEA and the municipality. This contract is managed at the municipal level. There are currently eight municipalities that have a lease agreement with ONEA10. ONEA has two basic service models: through private connections and by way of standpipes that are serviced through water towers11. The water is sold volumetrically and tariffs are established by the National Government12. However, in municipalities where ONEA is delegated water service provisioning through a municipal-level contract, fees can be added to the tariffs if the municipality chooses to do so13. User tariffs support the maintenance and operations of water infrastructure of ONEA14. In addition, these tariffs support investment cost, which are typically made using matching funds from the government or partners15. Decisions about extending services are highly centralized, requiring approval from the central office of ONEA in Ouagadougou before funding is mobilized16. In municipalities that have leasing contracts with ONEA, the municipalities can decide to extend services, but the financing used to expand services is the responsibility of the municipality (Commune de Hounde & GIZ, 2009)17.

Municipalities and Water Users Associations

Burkina Faso is divided into 13 administrative regions, which are comprised of 45 provinces, made up of 351 municipalities known in Burkina Faso as ‘communes’ (INSD, 2016)18. Each municipality is comprised of a number of villages, while each village is comprised of neighbourhoods. Municipalities are responsible for water service provision in the villages in their municipality. Each municipality should have a plan for water infrastructure development. The actual operation and management of water infrastructure is delegated to Water Users Associations, which are installed at the village level (MAHRH, 2006). Water Users Associations are delegated responsibility by the municipality for the regular maintenance and operations of the water services within their village19. The regular maintenance and operation is financed by monthly service fees collected by the Water Users Association20, which are used to fund preventative maintenance and provide ‘good faith’ payments when funding is transferred for large repairs (US$ 281) or new infrastructure (US$ 441)21.

Case studies: finance for water infrastructure development

Why do you want the budget? There is nothing in there for water.’

Municipal Accountant, Banfora

The municipalities studied all have both urban and rural water infrastructure characteristics in the sense that the municipalities have small urban centers which are serviced by a small network, private connections and standpipes, as well as less densely populated areas serviced by standpipes (overview in Table 1). The municipalities incorporate between four (Moussodougou) and 36 (Komsilga) villages. Water coverage for the non-urban population of these municipalities varies from 63.8% to 100%. Banfora and Houndé are the only municipalities in which ONEA is active. As ONEA needs to cover its operational costs from tariffs, it requires a sufficient market-size, which is only available in Houndé and Banfora. These municipalities have entered into a contract with ONEA to serve the urban parts of the municipality. For villages not covered by ONEA the Banfora and Houndé have engaged Water Users Associations.

National government expenditure in case study towns

The national government is responsible for financing the development of rural water infrastructure by transferring resources to the municipalities or to the regions. As highlighted earlier, however, transfers from the national government to non-urban areas are limited. Of the four cases studies, only Houndé received a transfer from the Ministry of Water and Sanitation of US$ 58,979 for five new wells (see Figure 3). This represents approximately 21% of the total costs for planned water infrastructure in the municipality. The other municipalities received no funding from the national government for water infrastructure development. The challenges of funding water infrastructure development are illustrated by the municipal Secretary General of Banfora. Referring to the decentralization of responsibilities for water provision to the municipal level, he observed that the national government ‘transferred the problems, not the resources’22. This perspective was countered by a representative of the General Directorate of Potable Water. He argued that it was necessary for a municipality to have administrative capacity before public funds could be transferred to that municipality23. The urban bias in public finance is then linked to the capacity of the municipality to absorb the funds from the central government.

Fig. 3.

Public funding of water infrastructure in case study towns.

Fig. 3.

Public funding of water infrastructure in case study towns.

Municipal expenditure on water infrastructure

With national government expenditure in the case study sites limited to a small contribution for Houndé, the role of the municipality in funding development of water infrastructure becomes more important. However, only the municipality of Komsilga provided a funding contribution for the construction of water infrastructure. This contribution amounted to US$ 1,160, which represents a mere 0.14% of the cost of the water infrastructure plan. The other municipalities did not allocate any budget for water infrastructure development (see Table 2). Two factors explain the limited budget allocation of the municipalities.

The first factor relates to the challenges municipalities face in local revenue generation. The municipalities are characterized by low capacity and motivation to administer taxes by municipal councillors, difficulties of collection of taxes, and the municipal tax authorities favour urban settings. These characteristics mean that the local revenue generation is low (see also Humphreys et al., 2018). A comparison of the locally generated revenue to the annual cost of the municipal development plans' water infrastructure development, reveals that local revenue generation is insufficient to make annual progress on each municipality's plan for water infrastructure development. The proportion of total municipal budget needed for water infrastructure development varies from over 125 percent in Banfora to 17 percent in Komsilga. Komsilga has the highest local revenue generation out of the case study municipalities and therefore, would be best situated to use locally generated revenue for water. Komsilga's proximity to the capital of Ouagadougou increases their local revenue generation capacity as the price of land is higher in Komsilga (Commune de Komsilga & GRAD Consulting Group, 2013). The price of land affects the revenue base for municipal taxes, such as on land transfers. However, Komsilga only allocates less than 1% of the investment needed to develop planned water infrastructure from its municipal budget. To make annual progress on the municipal development plan, Komsilga would have to allocate nearly one-fifth of their total municipal budget to water infrastructure development.

This introduces the second factor that explains the limited allocation of municipal resources. In addition to the weakness of local revenue generation, municipalities prioritize other sectors for the use of municipal resources over the water services sector. From this analysis, it is clear that the resource generation at the municipal level is minimal and is unable to support the development of water infrastructure. The municipalities prioritize other sectors, such as health, education and agriculture for the allocation of municipal resources (WaterAid, 2014:10). Although municipalities are responsible for ensuring water services provision in, they do not view investment in water infrastructure as their responsibility. Rather, investment in water infrastructure is seen as the responsibility of donors.

Donor funding: partner finance and project finance

That is a job for the partners.’

Mayor of Houndé

The combination of low local revenue generation and minimal local allocation for water, and the limited transfers from the national government mean that other sources of funding have to be found by the municipalities to develop water infrastructure in their villages. These other sources of funding for water infrastructure come in two forms: partner finance and project finance (see Table 3). Partner finance and project finance require varying levels of involvement from the municipalities and create accountabilities to stakeholders outside of the municipalities.

Partnership finance

Partners essentially concern development agencies or ‘northern’ municipalities that have entered into a partnership with the Burkinabe municipalities to support the development of the municipality. As such, partner finance is oriented to assisting the municipality in developing capacity over the length of their partnership24. Partners' finance activities are usually in accordance with the municipal development plans; typically because the partners have helped the municipality develop the municipal development plan (Commune de Hounde & GIZ, 2009; Commune de Banfora & Oxfam Quebec, 2013; Commune de Moussodougou et al., 2016a)25. Accordingly, the financial resources used in this type of partnership are kept in an account that is jointly managed by the municipality and the partner26. While these partnerships are aimed to develop autonomous managerial capacity at the municipality, the service technicians in Houndé and Moussodougou expressed concern about the forthcoming end of their partner finance relationships, stating that it would be necessary to find another such partnership and that they would be lost without their partner27.

Project finance

They just pass by the mayor's office.’

Secretary General in Komsilga

Project finance relates to infrastructural development projects financed by donor agencies. Rather than contributing to development of the municipality, this type of aid focuses only on individual infrastructure projects. Project finance most often does not adhere to the municipal development plans for water infrastructure development. In other words, the municipal plan for development of water infrastructure is not a basis on which these development projects are selected and implemented. This finding is supported by a WaterAid study of public financing in the Sub-Saharan water services sector. It finds that ‘[s]ignificant amounts of donor-funding and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) funding […] are off-budget, targeted directly at areas without being reported in Ministry of Finance budgets and spending’ (WaterAid, 2014:9). As project finance largely occurs with minimal involvement of the municipality estimates of the resources mobilized for project finance in the towns were not available from the municipality. In the four municipalities studied, the only involvement of the municipality was that they were informed of the location of the infrastructure developed under the project28. The service technician in Houndé expressed concern that he did not know what or where infrastructure was being constructed in the municipality and that those involved with these projects viewed informing the municipality as a mere formality29.

The development of water infrastructure, which is not in line with the municipal development plan highlights that donor priorities are not necessarily aligned with priorities for infrastructure development identified by the municipality. Moreover, project finance does not appear to be concentrated in the municipalities with the greatest need. The municipalities with the highest level of access also had the greatest evidence of project finance. Specifically, Komsilga and Banfora (with access rates of 99.4 percent and 75.4 percent, respectively) also have the highest levels of project finance (see Table 4). Illustrative of the misalignment of project finance with the needs of municipalities is the development of wells in Komsilga. Whereas the municipality had allocated resources for the maintenance of seven wells and the municipal development plan targeted the development of 30 wells and kiosks, a total of 74 wells was developed in the municipality over the past two years. This means that twice the amount of planned water infrastructure was constructed in Komsilga.

Discussion: some towns are more equal than others

To succeed, you need to demonstrate success and dissociate yourself from failure.’

Rap (2006) 

Given the urban bias in public funding of water infrastructure and the limited local government funding of water infrastructure, each of the four municipalities showed a strong dependency on donor funding for water infrastructure development. This donor finance was accessed either through partnerships with donor agencies and foreign municipalities or through donor-driven project funding. The strong dependency on donor finance, however, is problematic for a number of reasons.

First of all, the reliance on project finance leads to the development of water infrastructure outside the scope of public accountability. Whereas municipal development plans may be subject to public scrutiny, project finance which contributes to the development of infrastructure outside the municipal development plan is decided upon outside the public domains. Between one-third and half of the villages in three municipalities showed evidence of project finance in which the municipality was only minimally involved. Earlier research suggests that NGOs often have incentives to follow the agenda of the government donor and to focus on short-term and quantitative outputs, rather than on the communities they aim to serve (Edwards & Hulme, 1996; Hickey, 2002; Mitlin et al., 2007; Rusca & Schwartz, 2012). Rusca & Schwartz (2012) suggest that international NGOs ‘may have difficulties reconciling ‘upward’ accountability to the funding agency and ‘downward’ accountability to the beneficiaries and southern partners with which they work’. This leads to the concern how evenly project finance is divided over different municipalities.

Apart from possible inequalities between villages within the same municipality, donor-funding also leads to questions between villages in different municipalities. As highlighted, not all municipalities are equally able to attract project finance. Komsilga was the site for many donor-funded interventions. So what makes Komsilga more attractive for donors than the other municipalities? An important explanation for the popularity of Komsilga appears to be that it has the characteristics that allow donors to relatively easily develop and implement project interventions. Donors have an interest in ensuring that their water infrastructure interventions are successful and the selection of suitable project site can greatly aid the chances of a successful intervention (Rap, 2006). This is echoed by a WaterAid publication that argues that donors ‘delegate decision-making to domestic partners, who in turn choose easier options to increase the likelihood of success, as well as keep costs lower than the hardest to reach and most marginalised communities’ (WaterAid, 2014:12). In our case studies, Komsilga exhibits a combination of factors, which make it a preferable site for such interventions. These factors include its rural characteristics, the developed project-management capacity, an established record of previous successes, and a well developed network of informal relationships. These factors are elaborated upon below.

Komsilga is a preferred site for interventions because it has rural characteristics whilst also being in close proximity to the capital. At a national level, the success of ONEA and the achievement of the MDGs in urban areas mean that donors are targeting rural areas for interventions. Accordingly, Komsilga's rural characteristics and proximity to the capital mean that it is a good site for testing interventions for rural contexts and facilitates multiple visits by evaluators, which donors require to evaluate their interventions.

As donors choose Komsilga to test their interventions, both the municipality and community-based organizations within the municipality develop capacity to manage and adhere to project management and financial management requirements associated with donor funding. Komsilga's Municipal Development Plan, for example, demonstrates an aptitude for managing these other sources of finance. Komsilga's plan also assigned partners at the village level, which demonstrates that the villages have developed sufficient capacity to manage partner finances without support from the municipality. This level of sophistication indicates that Komsilga and its villages have developed their capacity to working with external sources of financing. This is important as Edwards et al. (1999:130) argue, ‘even where they work through ‘partners’, many [donors] tend to dictate the scope and pace of work through their control over funding and procedures’. This means that local partners need to have the capacity to account for funding and adhere to the procedures stipulated by the donors who emphasize the ‘capacity for accountability’ as constituting an important element for ensuring a ‘successful’ project (Rusca & Schwartz, 2012). What results is a reinforcing apparatus in which donor-funded projects lead the municipality and community-based organizations in Komsilga to increase their capacity to accommodate donor-funded projects. This, in turn, leads to more donor-funded projects. Organizations in the other municipalities, which have less capacity are unable to attract donor-funded projects that will allow them to develop such capacity. As a result, they are stuck in a low-level equilibrium which they have difficulty getting out of.

Apart from this more formal project management capacity, Komsilga also benefits from the existence of informal networks with the central government. The previous mayor of Komsilga worked at the General Directorate for Potable Water, during his tenure as mayor30. Small municipalities often struggle to gain the attention at the national level, as they lack the power and influence of large urban centers. Therefore, informal links such as between the mayor and the General Directorate may act to increase Komsilga's relative influence on the national government. For example, the government selected Komsilga to be a test site for a private operator contract with SAWES31. This informal network is helpful for Komsilga as project proponents might seek the advice of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation to identify pilot sites for their interventions. Having a mayor working at the DGEP facilitates opportunities to direct projects to that mayor's municipality32.

Although the access to project finance of Komsilga may be beneficial for the municipality, it also comes at a cost. The national government does not transfer public resources transferred due to the low capacity at the municipal level to manage these funds. As a result, the municipality's reliance on these other sources of financing develops a parallel structure to public finance, which is used to finance their water infrastructure. Komsilga, thus, develops capacity to manage the requirements of partner and project finance, instead of developing public financial management capacity. The development of capacity in the parallel structure has long-term implications for the municipality and its use of public finance. Over time the municipality's ability to manage donor funds increases whilst its access (and ability to manage) public funds remains limited. Moreover, it does little to prioritize municipal budget allocations for water infrastructure development. This reinforces the already strong dependency on donor funding. This vicious circle was both referred to by a representative of the General Directorate of Water as well as a representative of Komsilga. However, both approached the circle with alternative solutions. Whereas the representative of the General Directorate emphasized the need for the municipality to develop capacity in order to obtain national government funding, the representative of the municipality emphasized the need to transfer national government funds in order to develop capacity.

Conclusion

This analysis of the public finance system in Burkina Faso reveals interconnected biases. Funding mobilized for the 2007–2015 National Program is only minimally allocated for rural or small town water infrastructure development, whereas the transfers to ONEA were almost twice the combined amount of transfers to regions and municipalities, and nearly quadruple the amount when adjusted by population served. This indicates an urban bias, which is alarming for two reasons. First, the urban sector already has relatively-high levels of access to water, and therefore allocations to the urban sector do little to work towards distributive equity. Second, the contract between the national government and ONEA allows ONEA to reinvest resources into their service areas. This contractual stipulation means that these transfers reinforce the existing inequities by preserving the continual investment of financial resources only in the urban areas. During implementation of the 2007–2015 National Program, the Centre region received the most resources to develop their water infrastructure. This is problematic because the Centre region already had the highest level of access to water in Burkina Faso. The other regions analyzed for this thesis, Hauts-Bassins and Cascades, are among the regions with the lowest levels of access to water, and yet received 16.9 percent and 18.5 percent fewer resources than the Centre region, respectively33. This demonstrates that the public finance system in Burkina Faso is currently unable to either achieve distributive equity or to target investment to the areas with the lowest level of access.

At the same time, the local government also does not appear to view it as a responsibility to fund water infrastructure development from its municipal budget. Only one of the four municipalities allocated a very small amount from its municipal budget for infrastructure maintenance. Rather, the municipalities appear to view infrastructure financing as a responsibility of partners and donors. The dependency on donor-funding, however, is also problematic. Municipalities that have favourable characteristics for successful project implementation appear to be at an advantage of sourcing these funds. As a result, municipalities that are already relatively well served, receive a disproportionate share of these donor funds as this funding is subject to the priorities and interests of the donors, which may not be aligned with distributive equity. In the case study municipalities, these other sources of funding were not geared towards the municipalities with the greatest need. Komsilga had the highest level of access, but as discussed above possesses a combination of attractive attributes that allow it to easily access project funding. Some small towns are thus confronted with a double bias. First an urban bias in which the majority of public finance goes to urban centres served by ONEA. Secondly, by a donor-bias in which some towns are favoured for project implementation due to favourable site characteristics.

Table 1.

Overview of case studies.

Indicator Houndé Komsilga Banfora Moussodougou 
Population 114,774 65,432 162,055 15,746 
Urban (ONEA) 67,232 110,891 
Rural 47,542 51,164 
Water coverage rural population 63.8% 99.4% 75.4% 100% 
Villages 15 36 22 
Wells 233 404 312 58 
Functionality of wells 92.9% 87.3% 87.2% 100% 
Water towers 13 
Functionality of water towers 100% 94.2% 100% 100% 
Indicator Houndé Komsilga Banfora Moussodougou 
Population 114,774 65,432 162,055 15,746 
Urban (ONEA) 67,232 110,891 
Rural 47,542 51,164 
Water coverage rural population 63.8% 99.4% 75.4% 100% 
Villages 15 36 22 
Wells 233 404 312 58 
Functionality of wells 92.9% 87.3% 87.2% 100% 
Water towers 13 
Functionality of water towers 100% 94.2% 100% 100% 
Table 2.

Public funding and the municipal development plan (in US$).

 Houndé Komsilga Banfora Moussodougou 
Total revenue per capita 4.57 17.76 1.56 7.07 
Operations budget 306,563.16 617,595.62 166,582.87 17,353.12 
Investment budget 218,509.34 544,706.85 85,838.36 94,048.30 
Cost of water infrastructure in plan 1,391,632.89 802,977.76 1,611,731.09 No cost estimate included 
Cost of water infrastructure in plan per year 278,326.58 200,744.44 322,346.22 (see above) 
% of investment budget needed 127.38% 36.85% 375.53% (see above) 
% of total revenue needed 53.01% 17.27% 127.70% (see above) 
Allocations from national government 58,979.46 
Allocations from local resources 1,160 
 Houndé Komsilga Banfora Moussodougou 
Total revenue per capita 4.57 17.76 1.56 7.07 
Operations budget 306,563.16 617,595.62 166,582.87 17,353.12 
Investment budget 218,509.34 544,706.85 85,838.36 94,048.30 
Cost of water infrastructure in plan 1,391,632.89 802,977.76 1,611,731.09 No cost estimate included 
Cost of water infrastructure in plan per year 278,326.58 200,744.44 322,346.22 (see above) 
% of investment budget needed 127.38% 36.85% 375.53% (see above) 
% of total revenue needed 53.01% 17.27% 127.70% (see above) 
Allocations from national government 58,979.46 
Allocations from local resources 1,160 
Table 3.

Summary of partners in municipalitiesa.

 Partner from municipal development plan Partners identified to finance infrastructure in municipal development plan Comments 
Houndé GIZ Burkina Manganese US$ 473,824 (new water tower) GIZ stated to only provide capacity building for the municipality though they did supply financing for a water tower and standpipes in 2012 
Albacete, Spain 
Saint Fons, France ADAE US$ 3,313.45 (expansion of water tower system) 
Komsilga Friendship Japan Decentralized Partners (does not specify which partner) US$ 223,658 The municipal accountant stated that there were two NGOs also partnered with the commune, ACT and ASMT 
Charles DuFour 
Kinder-In-Not 
Canadian International Development Agency 
Banfora Oxfam Quebec Oxfam Quebec: expansion of water tower system to two villages (Siniena and Tengrela); eight standpipes Oxfam Quebec was the most noted partner of the municipality for infrastructure development 
Chauvigny, France 
Trino, Italy 
Sikasso, Mali 
Geisenhein, Germany 
Kona, Japan 
Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso 
Pouytenga, Burkina Faso 
Moussodougou Oxfam Quebec ACAD – new water tower in Diamon ACAD was stated to be the primary partner of the municipality, which had realized a water tower in a village. The service technician highlighted that receiving transfers from the government was unlikely and that partner finance was preferable 
ACAD – City of Mondonville 
 Partner from municipal development plan Partners identified to finance infrastructure in municipal development plan Comments 
Houndé GIZ Burkina Manganese US$ 473,824 (new water tower) GIZ stated to only provide capacity building for the municipality though they did supply financing for a water tower and standpipes in 2012 
Albacete, Spain 
Saint Fons, France ADAE US$ 3,313.45 (expansion of water tower system) 
Komsilga Friendship Japan Decentralized Partners (does not specify which partner) US$ 223,658 The municipal accountant stated that there were two NGOs also partnered with the commune, ACT and ASMT 
Charles DuFour 
Kinder-In-Not 
Canadian International Development Agency 
Banfora Oxfam Quebec Oxfam Quebec: expansion of water tower system to two villages (Siniena and Tengrela); eight standpipes Oxfam Quebec was the most noted partner of the municipality for infrastructure development 
Chauvigny, France 
Trino, Italy 
Sikasso, Mali 
Geisenhein, Germany 
Kona, Japan 
Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso 
Pouytenga, Burkina Faso 
Moussodougou Oxfam Quebec ACAD – new water tower in Diamon ACAD was stated to be the primary partner of the municipality, which had realized a water tower in a village. The service technician highlighted that receiving transfers from the government was unlikely and that partner finance was preferable 
ACAD – City of Mondonville 

aInterviews HCC, December, 2016; HSG, December, 2016; HST, December, 2016; KCC, December, 2016; KSG, December, 2016; KST, December, 2016; BCC , November, 2016; BSG, November, 2016; BST1, November, 2016; MSG, November, 2016; MST, November, 2016).

Table 4.

Evidence of project finance.

 Houndé Komsilga Banfora 
Villages with infrastructure development that is not stipulated in the municipal development plan 5 out of 15 17 out of 36 8 out of 22 
Percent of villages with project finance 33.33% 47.22% 36.36% 
Level of access 63.8% 99.4% 75.4% 
 Houndé Komsilga Banfora 
Villages with infrastructure development that is not stipulated in the municipal development plan 5 out of 15 17 out of 36 8 out of 22 
Percent of villages with project finance 33.33% 47.22% 36.36% 
Level of access 63.8% 99.4% 75.4% 
1

The term ‘improved water sources’ was developed to allow for international comparability for monitoring progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Program. Improved water sources include piped water (to dwelling or yard), standpipes, boreholes, dug wells, protected springs, rainwater, and bottle water (WHO/UNICEF JMP, n.d.).

2

In 2000, ONEA served half of 2.3 million people. In 2014 ONEA served 4 million people out of a total population of 4.6 million people (van den Berg & Danilenko, 2017:109).

4

Interview DGEP, December, 2016.

5

At the time, the responsibilities of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and the General Directorate for Potable Water were under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Hydraulic Resources and the General Directorate for Water Resources (Interview USAID, December, 2016).

6

Interview DGEP, December, 2016.

7

Interview CDREA2, December, 2016.

8

Interview ONEA, December, 2016.

9

Interview ONEA, December, 2016.

10

Interview ONEA, December, 2016.

11

Interview ONEA, December, 2016.

12

Interview ONEA, December, 2016; DGEP, December, 2016.

13

Interview ONEAH, December, 2016.

14

Interview ONEA, December, 2016.

15

Interview IRCD, December, 2016.

16

Interview ONEAB, November, 2016.

17

Interview ONEAH, December, 2016.

18

Municipalities are called ‘communes’ in Burkina Faso. The terms are interchangeable so any reference to ‘communes’ or ‘commune’ in this article refers to municipalities or municipality.

19

BST1, November, 2016.

20

There is a basic fees structure suggested by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, however each Water Users Association is free to alter the structure, given that sufficient revenue is generated to meet 3000 FCFA per household. Each Water Users Associations visited had a different arrangement for fee collection (e.g. based on the amount of spouses, through the mutualization of profits from agricultural group, or direct payments from the sale of cotton) (Interview BKAUE1, November, 2016; Interview HBAUE, December, 2016).

21

Interview BST1, November, 2016.

22

All quotes translated by the researcher.

23

Interview DGEP, December, 2016; Interview KAM, December, 2016.

24

Interview HST, December, 2016; Interview GIZ, November, 2016.

25

Interview MST, November, 2016; Interview HST, December, 2016.

26

Interview HCC, December, 2016.

27

Interview MST, November, 2016; Interview HST, December, 2016.

28

Interview HST, December, 2016; Interview KSG, December, 2016.

29

Interview HST, December, 2016.

30

Interview KAM, December, 2016.

31

Interview KSG, December, 2016.

32

Interview KAM, December, 2016.

33

When the regional data are corrected for rural population, the disparities between regions grow, with the Centre Region receiving over three times the resources as the Cascades and Hauts-Bassins regions combined (INSD & MEA, 2015; MEA, 2016; OANDA, 2016; World Bank, 2016).

References

References
Commune de Banfora
(
2016
).
Compte Administratif Gestion Budgetaire 2015
.
Commune de Banfora
,
Banfora
.
Commune de Banfora, & Oxfam Quebec
(
2013
).
Plan Communal de Development Sectoriel d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable et d'Assainissement (PCD-AEPA) 2013-2018
.
Commune de Banfora
,
Banfora
.
Commune de Hounde
(
2016
).
Budget Primitif Gestion 2016
.
Commune de Hounde
,
Hounde
.
Commune de Hounde & GIZ
(
2009
).
Plan Communal de Development Sectoriel d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable et Assainissement 2010–2015
.
Commune de Hounde
,
Hounde
.
Commune de Komsilga
(
2016
).
Budget Primitif Gestion
.
Commune de Komsilga
,
Komsilga
.
Commune de Komsilga & GRAD Consulting Group
(
2013
).
Plan Communal de Developpement Commune Rurale de Komsilga
.
Commune de Komsilga
,
Komsilga
.
Commune de Moussodougou, IGIP Afrique & Oxfam Quebec
(
2013
).
Rapport Diagnostic Approvisionnement en Eau Potable et Assainissement: Version Provisoire
.
Commune de Moussodougou
,
Moussodougou
.
Commune de Moussodougou, Oxfam Quebec & IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
(
2016a
).
Plan d'Action AEPHA 2016:
Commune de Moussodougou
.
Commune de Moussodougou
(
2016b
).
Budget Primitif Gestion
.
Moussodougou
.
DGEP
(
2015
).
Programme National d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable à l'Horizon 2030
.
DGEP
,
Ouagadougou
.
DGRE
(
2006
).
Programme National d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable et d'Assainissement à l'horizon 2015
.
DGRE
,
Ouagadougou
.
Edwards
,
M.
&
Hulme
,
D.
, (
1996
).
Too close for comfort: NGOs, the state and donors
.
World Development
24
(
6
),
961
973
.
Edwards
,
M.
,
Hulme
,
D.
&
Wallace
,
T.
, (
1999
).
NGOs in a global future: marrying local delivery to worldwide leverage
.
Public Administration and Development
19
,
117
136
.
Humphreys
,
E.
,
van der Kerk
,
A.
&
Fonseca
,
C.
, (
2018
).
Public finance for water infrastructure development and its practical challenges for small towns
.
Water Policy
20
(
s1
),
100
111
.
INSD
(
2016
).
Annuaire Statistique 2015, Ministère de l’économie des finances et du développement
.
Institut National de la statistique et de la démographie
,
Ouagadougou
.
INSD & MEA
(
2015
).
Resultats INO 2015 Fevrier, Ministère de l’économie des finances et du développement
.
Institut National de la statistique et de la démographie
,
Ouagadougou
.
MAHRH
(
2006
).
Programme d'Application de la Réforme: Le système de gestion promu par la Réforme
.
Ministère de l'Agriculture, de l'Hydraulique et des Ressources Halieutiques
,
Ouagadougou
.
MEA
(
2016
).
Revue des Dépenses Publiques de 2007 à 2015 dans le Secteur Eau et Assainissement: Annexes
.
Ministère de l'Eau et de l'Assainissement
,
Ouagadougou
.
MEA & DGESS
(
2016
).
Rapport de Performance de l'Annee 2015 du Secteur Eau et Assainissement
.
Ministère de l'Eau et de l'Assainissement
,
Ouagadougou
.
Mitlin
,
D.
,
Hickey
,
S.
&
Bebbington
,
A.
, (
2007
).
Reclaiming development? NGOs and the challenge of alternatives
.
World Development
35
(
10
),
1699
1720
.
OANDA
(
2016
).
Currency Converter, Average. Retrieved from https://www.oanda.com/currency/average
.
Accessed December 8, 2016
.
ONEA
(
2016
).
Carte d'Implantation, Retrieved from http://oneabf.com/carte-dimplantation/
.
Accessed March 2, 2017
.
Pietila
,
P.E.
, (
2006
).
Role of municipalities in water services
.
Tampere University of Technology Publication
,
Tampere, FL
,
617
.
Rap
,
E.
, (
2006
).
The success of a policy model: irrigation management transfer in Mexico
.
Journal of Development Studies
42
(
8
),
1301
1324
.
van den Bergh
,
C.
&
Danilenko
,
A.
, (
2017
).
Performance of Water Utilities in Africa
.
World Bank
,
Washington, DC
.
WaterAid
(
2014
).
From Promise to Reality: The Urgent Need for Southern African Leaders to Deliver on Their Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commitments
. .
Accessed August 22, 2017
.
WHO/UNICEF JMP
(
2015
).
Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water–2015 Update and MDG Assessment
.
World Health Organization
,
Geneva
.
WHO/UNICEF JMP
(
n.d.
).
Improved and Unimproved Water Sources and Sanitation Facilities
. .
Accessed August 10, 2017
.
World Bank
(
2016
).
Burkina Faso Data
. .
Accessed July 1, 2017
.
WSP
(
2011
).
Water Supply and Sanitation in Burkina Faso: Turning Finance Into Services for 2015 and Beyond
.
AMCOW Country Status Overview
.
WSP
,
Nairobi
.