This manual was prepared to document and disseminate the Water Quality Assurance Fund approach initially piloted in Ghana. Initial evidence supports scaling up the program to contribute to safe management of small, rural water systems.
The Water Quality Assurance Fund is a mechanism wherein dispersed, rural water systems can receive regular, reliable, and professional water quality testing services and interpret data to ensure water safety. It provides a locally accessible standby account to help rural water systems become a more attractive market to urban water quality laboratories in their area. A central laboratory may be more willing to offer monitoring services to water systems with irregular income if they are guaranteed regular payment.
When rural water systems are unable to pay testing fees to the laboratory on time, the Assurance Fund ensures the remittance of fees for monthly testing. Local government authorities can enforce a surcharge when water systems repay the Assurance Fund, to reduce drawdown over time. Most of the time, transactions take place between the testing recipients and laboratory providers.
To set up the Assurance Fund and enroll rural water supplies, a facilitating organization needs to tackle several tasks and engage stakeholders in the process. Providing ongoing implementation support ensures actor coordination and linkages to additional water safety management expertise as needed. This document, developed by USAID’s REAL-Water initiative, outlines the steps needed.