|Ecuador: Water and Sanitation|
|Water coverage (broad definition)||93%|
|Sanitation coverage (broad definition)||89%|
|Continuity of supply (%)||50% in urban areas|
|Average urban water use (l/c/d)||n/a|
|Average urban water tariff (US$/m3)||n/a|
|Share of household metering||n/a|
|Share of collected wastewater treated||n/a|
|Annual investment in WSS||n/a|
|Share of self-financing by utilities||nil|
|Share of tax-financing||n/a|
|Share of external financing||n/a|
|Decentralization to municipalities||Full|
|National water and sanitation company||No|
|Water and sanitation regulator||No|
|Responsibility for policy setting||Ministry of Urban Development and Housing|
|Number of urban service providers||219|
|Number of rural service providers||more than 5,000|
|Urban (62% of the population)||Rural (38% of the population)||Total|
Coverage for both water and sanitation services tends to be lower in the costa and oriente than in the sierra. In addition, water supply coverage varies greatly by income, reaching about 90% for the top three income deciles in urban areas compared with levels of only about 60% for the bottom three income deciles.
In general, water service quality is low in Ecuador. Water supply services are interrupted in 50% of the urban areas. Water pressure is well below standard, particularly in poor outlying areas. In 30% of the urban areas, there is no treatment of superficial potable water. 92% of wastewater is discharged without any kind of treatment.
According to a study of 2004 about sustainability, 38% of the systems in rural zones have collapsed, and 20% are seriously damaged. 29% are somewhat damaged and only 13% are considered sustainable.
In 1992, the sector was decentralized due to a Decentralization Law and the sector's administration was assigned to MIDUVI, which was fusioned with IEOS. Many municipalities, in particular small and medium-sized ones, did not dispose of enough capacity for providing water supply and sanitation services. In 2001, the national government began to support those municipalities with technical assistance through PRAGUAS (see below).
While Ecuador has a National Water and Sanitation Policy, it is set out in relatively vague terms and avoids a clear position on sensitive issues such as investment subsidies (by national and sub-national governments) and who should receive them.
A draft plan for a Water and Sanitation Sector Law was prepared, but has not yet been presented to Congress, given unstable political conditions.
An Interinstitutional Committee for Water and Sanitation acts as a forum for interchanging experiences in collaboration with MIDUVI.
In rural areas, more than 5,000 Potable Water Boards provide the services. Most of them are left to their fate in abandoned conditions, due to very low tariff levels, neglicgence of care of the water sources and lack of an institution helping water boards since the dissolution of IEOS in 1992.
Labour productivity in water supply and sanitation is generally difficult to guess in small municipalities, where the service is frequently carried out directly by municipal governments in conjunction with other services. Nevertheless, between 5 and 14 employees per 1000 connections are estimated in medium sized towns, a number well in excess of best regional practices (below 3 employees per 1000 connections).
Non-revenue water, which is the difference between produced and invoiced water is also difficult to guess, given low measuring levels in Ecuador. However, at the end of 2001 it was estimated at 65%, one of the highest levels in Latin America.
A study commissioned by the government under financing by the World Bank concluded that nationwide, tariffs covered only about 2/3 of system operation and maintenance costs in 2001. National and sub-national (provincial and municipal) government transfers are required to cover the operation and maintenance gap and to finance coverage expansion.
Concerning the affordability of tariffs and ability to pay of user, in 1998 households that indicated expenses for water in the national living standards measurement survey, stated that on average they stood at 1,7% of their total expenses. This percentage is higher in urban areas (1.9%) than in rural communities with some basic infrastructure (rural amanzanado - 1.3%) and rural areas with scattered population (rural disperso - 0.9%). Within the poorest decile, this percentage is 1.9% on national average, but 3.3% in urban areas. The expenses include water which is bought from water tankers, but excludes expenses for sanitation.
Financing for urban and rural water supply investments is provided by a multitude of national and sub-national actors under different terms and conditions. Some favour participation by users and municipalities, but the majority provide assistance without requiring any contributions (assistencialismo) in a clientelistic manner, underestimating the importance of participation to reach sustainability of services.
However, the government has recently taken a bold step to improve Ecuador’s incentive framework for water and sanitation investments by adopting an Executive Decree on national government transfers to municipalities earmarked to WSS investment under a special tax on telephone calls (Impuesto sobre Consumos Especiales, ICE). The level of the transfers is higher for poorer municipalities, and – most notably – higher for those that improve operator performance or choose to delegate service provision to autonomous operators. The system of sub-national transfers thus provides incentives to improve both performance and more sustainable institutional arrangements at the local level.
DateFormat = x.y
Period = from:0 till:6.5
TimeAxis = orientation:vertical
ScaleMajor = gridcolor:tan1 increment:1 start:0 PlotData=
bar:1990 from:start till:0.78
bar:1991 from:start till:0.77
bar:1992 from:start till:0.54
bar:1993 from:start till:1.33
bar:1994 from:start till:1.95
bar:1995 from:start till:2.10
bar:1996 from:start till:2.30
bar:1997 from:start till:2.32
bar:1998 from:start till:2.39
bar:1999 from:start till:1.71
bar:2000 from:start till:1.01
bar:2001 from:start till:3.94
bar:2002 from:start till:6.10
bar:2003 from:start till:4.90
bar:2004 from:start till:0.65
bar:2005 from:start till:1.02
pos:(60,200) fontsize:M text: Annual investment in water supply and sanitation per capita in constant US$ of 2006 (only at the municipal level)
DateFormat = x.y Period = from:0 till:6.5 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = gridcolor:tan1 increment:1 start:0
From 1990 to 2005, US$409 million were invested in water supply and sanitation at the municipal level. As shown above, the funding reached its peak in 2002, when US$6.1 per capita were spent. However, the average investment p.a. was at only US$2.1 Compared to other Latin American states like its neighboring countries Peru and Colombia, the investment level in Ecuador is low.
The World Bank Group also contributed to the PRAGUAS project with a loan of US$48m, paid by the International Bank For Reconstruction And Development.
To satisfy requirements of quality, efficiency and cost recovery, PRAGUAS offers technical assistance and financial incentives to municipalities which are interested in delegating water supply and sanitation to autonomous operators, such as public or private utilities, cooperatives etc.
Referring to coverage, between 2001 and 2006 PRAGUAS I equipped 252,000 persons with new supply systems and 127,000 people with on-site sanitation (i.e. approximately 5% and 3% of the Ecuadorian rural population of 4.7m people). In small towns (cabeceras cantonales), where water service was interrupted, technical assistance was provided to improve the performance, separating service provision from direct provision by municipalities and increasing operative efficiency, to reach continuous sustainable service of good quality. In view of the fact that designs for more than 600,000 inhabitants (which is 13% of the Ecuadorian rural population) have already been prepared, a fast coverage expansion is expected within PRAGUAS II, which began in 2007 and will last until 2011.
During PRAGUAS I, among the country's 219 municipalities, 29 have decided to adopt new service models that are different from direct provision by municipalities. 14 have completed the transition process, exceeding the aim of APL-1 (Adaptable Program Loan) of five municipalities, which was established by the World Bank and the national government in 2000. An initial assessment shows that the first group of municipalities, which have delegated their water supply and sanitation services, like Cayambe (municipal company), Pedro Moncayo (municipal company, privately operated), Pujilí (municipal company), Guaranda (municipal company), Caluma (mixed company) and Echeandia (cooperative) have significally increased their operative efficiency and raised tariffs to at least cover their operation and maintenance costs.
The second stage, called APL-2/PRAGUAS II was approved by the World Bank's Board on July 25th 2006. PRAGUAS II is expected to provide the following benefits: i) support for consolidating the framework of incentives for investments in water supply and sanitation, as well as technical assistance to present a Water Law to the congress and the relevant regulations for its application; ii) A group of complementary activities to extend coverage under a demand-driven approach, enhancing hygiene benefits due to the new infrastructure and offering support to water boards aimed at strengthening the system's sustainability; iii) technical assistance and investment financing to improve qualitiy, efficiency and cost recovery of water supply and sanitation services and management of solid waste in small towns; and iv) a communication program to develop support for sector reform.
Until 2011, PRAGUAS II is expected to provide water supply and/or sanitation for 405,000 inhabitants in rural areas, such as the efficient water supply for 220,000 people in samll towns and sanitation managed by delegated operators for 120,000 persons. All service provision is done with a demand driven approach, respecting gender, interculturality and environmental care, thus aiming at an effective and sustainable use of the services.