The Kyrgyz Republic's rural water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector has been performing poorly and issues faced by the sector are:
a. Absence of a national rural WSS Policy. There is no national WSS policy or strategy for development, coordination and organization of either rural or urban WSS sectors. Neither rural nor urban WSS sectors have been included in the Kyrgyz Republic's Medium Term Development Plan (2012-14). In the absence of government commitment to sector development, the rural WSS service levels have been continuously declining. The Taza Suu program managed to slow down and temporarily reverse the decline in service levels. However, due to lack of rural WSS policy, most of the rural WSS systems constructed or rehabilitated under the Taza Suu program are not sustainable, and many systems are already inoperable. ADB requirement to develop a sector development policy and legal and regulatory framework for rural water asset creation and service delivery, as part of the Community-Based Infrastructure Services Sector Project (CBISSP), was ignored by the government. The World Bank is currently preparing a high level participative WSS strategy that will outline the principles for reforms in the WSS sector. The World Bank plans to complete the strategy paper and action plan by May 2013.
b. Weak sector governance. The only central government agency operating in the WSS sector is the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Sewerage Development (DDWSSD), under the State Agency for Architecture, Construction and Communal Services (SAACCS). This department is responsible for development of both rural and urban WSS sectors. However, DDWSSD has low level of authority and capacity as it has been recently created after the new government took charge. In its previous forms, DDWSSD has been frequently moved between different ministries and agencies due to its role in channeling development partner funds.
c. Poor implementation of development partner projects. ADB has financed two rural WSS projects in the Kyrgyz Republic, Community Based Infrastructure Services Sector Project (CBISSP) and Community-Based Infrastructure Services Sector Project - Supplementary (CBISSP-S) Both of these projects faced major implementation difficulties.
" CBISSP implementation issues comprised: (i) cost overruns; (ii) weak administration; (iii) poor selection of subprojects; (iv) poor performance of consultants, design institutes, and contractors; (v) poor execution of works, with substandard or even second hand equipment being installed; and (vi) poor sustainability of subprojects. In order to rectify deficiencies in execution of works, improve sustainability of subprojects and meet original project targets, ADB approved supplementary financing through CBISSP-S in 2009.
" CBISSP-S implementation issues comprise: (i) integrity breaches; (ii) low capacity of government implementation staff; (iii) poor application of selection criteria to identify subprojects; (iv) unsustainable institutional model and operations and maintenance practices; (v) poor supervision and poorly executed works; and (vi) non-compliance with ADB grant covenants and frequent violations of ADB rules and procedures. Based on the findings of the Office of Anticorruption and Integrity's Project Procurement-Related Review (PPPR), ADB suspended the Grant in May 2012.
" Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) 1 and 2 projects financed by World Bank and United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) faced similar implementation problems.
d. Poor service delivery. Most of the rural water supply infrastructure in the Kyrgyz Republic was built 40 to 50 years ago, during the Soviet period. Initially, the water supply systems provided reliable services. (Post-1991), the rural WSS infrastructure has deteriorated and is now in poor condition or inoperative. WSS systems built or rehabilitated through the Taza Suu Program are operated by the Community Drinking Water Users Unions (CDWUU) created in each benefitting village. Rural WSS systems that are not covered by the Taza Suu Program are operated directly by local governments. However, rural WSS services are poorly delivered because of: (i) a financing gap resulting from low revenues due to low tariff bases and poor collection; (ii) asset deterioration due to insufficient funds for maintenance and reinvestment; (iii) ineffective organization of service provision, lack of skilled personnel and reliance on outdated and inefficient construction norms and standards; and (iv) poor sector regulation and management. Overall, the rural WSS levels of service are low as shown by the indicators below (best estimates):
" Low Water Supply Coverage: 50% 60% in rural areas.
" Non-Potable Water: 2% of chemical and 10% of microbiological tests failed.
" Insufficient Hours of Supply: 4 hours to 20 hours water supply a day.
" High Water Losses: Actual level of losses is unknown, but it is estimated to be 35% 45%.
" Low Sewerage Coverage: Less than 25% of rural population has access to improved sanitation facilities.