Programme  OS5n Institutional and legal development  abstract 527

Institutional Structures in the Water and Sanitation Sector

Author(s): Perspectives for a new platform in Honduras
Author(s): Patricia Phumpiu, Jan Erik Gustafsson
KTH-Royal Institute of Technology Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering Sweden

Keyword(s): Institutions, Institutional Reform, Institutional Structure, Institutional Framework, Honduras,

Article: abs527_article.pdf
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Session: OS5n Institutional and legal development
The water and sanitation sector has been in the eye of the storm, when referring to institutional

reforms in Latin America (LA). Concepts and methodologies have been imported from western countries and these

have required adjustments in existing policies and regulatory frameworks in LA countries.

The paper focuses

on understanding the process for Water Institutional Reform in Honduras. It evaluates the effects of the Water

Institutional Reform by examining the impacts on institutions and the relationships among actors. The analysis is

carried out within the new institutionalism theory and water governance concept. Socio-political-cultural aspects are

analysed to identify landmarks in behaviour and events that may have led to choices that could prevail in the future.

The paper looks closely at the current water institutional design that may influence or set conditions on the

interrelationship between water resources availability, societal water demand, infrastructure development needs, and

socio-political and cultural aspects. It also takes into account that several geographical, natural factors and non-

expected events had affected institutional trends. The value added to this paper is impact analysis of the water

institutional reform currently on the way.
The research questions respond to: Are the new

institutions in the water and sanitation sector delivering an improved platform in practice? What is the degree of

dependence to the old institutional structure?

The paper examines the role of old and new water institutions

within the new institutional arrangement, followed by the analysis of three issues: i) the state of the art of regulation

inside the national government, ii) the participation of actors and their responses to changes, and iii) the usage of the

institutional design to set and prioritize the policies within their management and investment plans.

This study argues that within the Water Institutional Reform, the establishment of the institutional

structure is progressing according to political willingness and local pressures. In the implementation, old and new

water institutions depend greatly on the role of executives and regulator. At the local level, communities are recurring

to the ‘every day problem-solving’ strategies, which are difficult to monitor from the high national or even local

governmental level. The lack of funding restricts the role of the government as a state controller into medium-small

localities in Honduras, transforming the communities into their own controller and provider by self-managing their

drinking water resources. Thus, institutional arrangements are the opportunity for envisioning problems and projects

at a medium or long term period.

Water Institutional Reform in Honduras offers relative improvement and has

the opportunity to improve implementation failures by taking into account the technical and community network

resources that are already in place country wise. By taking advantage of the already established spaces for

negotiation and political bargaining, intervention and participation are legalized mechanisms towards water

development. Most of the interventions at the local level are efficient; however their illegal condition undermines

future developments.

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