Water Services in Small Towns: Experiences from the Global South


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Publication Date: 15/05/2019

Pages: 120

Binding: Paperback

ISBN13: 9781789060607

eISBN: 9781789060614

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The importance of small towns is gaining increased recognition as a result of two developments. The first development concerns the possible role of small towns in migration flows and urbanization. Development of small towns, in the form of improved basic services and other amenities, has been promoted in order to abate the impact of urbanization on large urban centres and to alleviate service provision pressures in major urban centers, whilst stimulating rural economies and eventually prompting social transformations. The second development concerns the targets set by the SDGs in 2015. SDG6 requires countries to ensure universal and equitable water services by 2030. This inclusive target requires that the water services needs of small towns are considered in the expansion of sustainable and equitable water services.

This book aims to contribute to the study of water services in small towns by critically examining different approaches and experiences of water supply in small towns. It brings together empirical testimonies of how the implementation of reductionist models and the perseverance of certain principles underlying these models in the water sector have yielded suboptimal results. Much remains to be done before achieving universal service coverage in small towns is likely. In order to do that, we should start speaking of small towns as a category on their own and continue the work in elaborating further what these are and how they work.

This title includes an article which will be freely available as a downloadable Open Access file.


In Focus – a book series that showcases the latest accomplishments in water research. Each book focuses on a specialist area with papers from top experts in the field. It aims to be a vehicle for in-depth understanding and inspire further conversations in the sector.

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(de)Constructing the conditions for private sector involvement in small towns’ water supply systems in Mozambique: policy implications

Small town water services sustainability checks: development and application in Ethiopia

In the shadow of the city: financing water infrastructure in small towns in Burkina Faso

Portrait of a successful small-town water service provider in Nepal’s changing landscape

Public finance for water infrastructure development and its practical challenges for small towns

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