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Ensuring equitable and sustainable access to safe water continues to be one of the most pressing issues in Tajikistan, despite the country having abundant water resources. The still low coverage of the population with access to drinking water has been attributed to cross-cutting governance problems such as the relationship between the state and other social actors, poor water management and coordination, and systemic challenges such as low capacity.  In the past decade, a demand-driven approach has become a widespread policy trend in Tajikistan and community-led management is seen as the main attribute for achieving effective water governance. The transfer of responsibility to local government and users is intended to promote local governance as a means of ensuring equitable access and sustainable use of water through users’ participation in water-related decision making and service delivery.

Under a demand-driven model applied by the TajWSS project, users take more responsibility before, during and after WS system installation. The model assumes that water users have the necessary information and capacity to carry out the delegated duties and obligations and this automatically translates into equitable access and sustainable use of safe water. Yet despite improvements in access to safe water in rural Tajikistan, O&M and lack of governmental support are still great challenges. 

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