Abstract: “This thesis explores individual and collective endeavors in water development, distribution, and access, along with the global and local influences that shaped the recent privatization exercise. Along with an internationally funded investment program to refurbish the dilapidated water infrastructure, water operations in Dar es Salaam were leased to a private operator.
Only about a third of the households, however, are reached by the piped water system; most households purchase water from those with pipe-connections or private boreholes. Thus, water distribution was informally privatized by way of water vending long before formal private sector participation began. Moreover, the contract with the private operator was prematurely cancelled.
The long-standing under-performance and low coverage of the piped water system have forced many people to devise their own ways to access water. This thesis argues that the individually devised artisan ways of water provisioning constitute the lifeline of Dar es Salaam’s water system. Yet, they also undermine and divert resources away from the collectively devised industrial form of piped water provision.