Publication Date

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


William H. Russel


community water management, post-construction support, rural water development, water policies, water privatization

Subject Areas

Environmental studies; Water resources management


Global transnational efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the world population lacking access to improved water supplies are failing to address sustainable development in sub-Saharan rural communities. These efforts have been driven largely by water governance strategies centered on the controversial principle that water is an economic good, and as such, the development of water services shall be left to the supply-demand mechanisms regulating commodities' markets. Uganda and Tanzania have embraced these strategies to varying degrees and have made strikingly different progress in developing their rural water sector. Uganda has maintained a steady rate of improvement in rural water coverage, while Tanzania has not. This comparative study between Tanzania's and Uganda's water governance principles and development approaches combined qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews and water policies with participant observation of two case studies. The results of the study suggest the success of Uganda's approach to water governance stems from the government commitment to retaining its role of providing basic services for the poorest strata of the population, de facto guaranteeing the constitutional right to water for all citizens irrespective of their economic status.