Determinants of Performance of Drinking-Water Community Organizations: A Comparative Analysis of Case Studies in Rural Costa Rica
This paper presents an institutional analysis of the underlying factors affecting the performance of drinking-water community organizations in rural areas of Costa Rica. These organizations provide water to more than 60 percent of the total rural population. There is, however, a great disparity in their performance. This research tries to understand how a complex configuration of geophysical characteristics of watersheds and infrastructure as well as governance and socioeconomic attributes of local users affects three key dimensions of performance in rural communities: financial health, infrastructure condition, and user satisfaction. Using a qualitative approach and matching techniques to ensure comparability, the paper analyzes four communities in depth. The main results highlight the relevance of a demand-driven approach, coupled with local accountability, working rules for tariff collection and infrastructure maintenance, and appropriate support from the government as the main conditions that promote higher levels of performance.
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