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Rights on the edge of the city: the right to water and the peri-urban water committees of Cochabamba

Anna Walnycki

Working paper, 28 pages

In cities with water sectors characterised by high degrees of informality, implementing the human right to water poses certain practical and political challenges. Drawing on research undertaken between 2009 and 2014, this paper reflects on how the Bolivian government has sought to develop more inclusive water governance arrangements that incorporate informal urban water providers, in an attempt to universalise access and realise the right to water.

This paper considers how reforms have been contested by community water providers in low-income peri-urban settlements in Cochabamba. Informal community water providers could become significant actors in service provision for low-income settlements, with sufficient technical support and political recognition. However, they cannot replace the state as guarantor of the right, particularly for the poorest households and communities.

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Water and sanitation have been recognised as human rights, but there is still little agreement on how these rights are best pursued. IIED has been working with local partners to identify how sanitation and water services can be improved in deprived urban locations that conventional urban piped water and sewer services have not reached.

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Urban water and sanitation

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