Small Towns Water & Sanitation

As per definition in the water and sanitation sector, small towns are the gazetted Town Councils, Town Boards and District Headquarters. This category therefore automatically includes all centres with populations of above 5,000 and those outside NWSC. All other centres with populations below 5,000 and above 2,000 are referred to as rural growth centres. Currently, there are 93 gazetted small towns out of over 220.


In regard to the small towns, the Local Governments Act vests the responsibility for the provision of water services to the Local Governments. The most appropriate Local Governments are then appropriately appointed as Water Authorities by the Ministry of Water and Environment, for their respective water supply areas in accordance with the Water Act.

A Performance Contract is made between the Ministry of Water and Environment on the one part and the appointed Water Authority on the other, defining the roles and responsibilities between the Ministry and the Water Authority.

Private operators should manage the system on behalf of the Water Authorities under a Management Contract between the two parties. The private operators are remunerated through a share of revenues from water sales.

The Water Authorities are supported by my Ministry in terms of infrastructure investment (e.g. project implementations, allocation of conditional grants, water meters and pipes) and technical advice.

Over the last four years, a lot of improvements have been made in the management and operations of water supply systems in the small towns, even though there is still a long way to go.

A first step was the improvement and standardization of the reporting system in order
• to monitor and support more efficiently the development of the various small towns,
• to identify shortcomings, and
• to improve feedback and competition by introduction of performance indicators.

Click on Map to download large mapA summary of some key-data of towns reporting on a monthly basis in the required format is presented under “publications” on this homepage. Use this link to access the reports.

The analysis of the available data reveals some major shortcomings which must be improved in the short term:

• Still some reports are not submitted at time or are missing
• Some of the data is not coherent or incomplete
• The increase of the revenue base (i.e. establishment of new connections and extensions) is much to slow.
• In many cases the expenditures for new connections and other capital investments don’t reflect the amount of conditional grant and the surplus of collected revenue intended especially for such investment purposes.

Click on map to download larger map of Small Towns.