Water Supply and Sanitation in Amalgamated Territorial Communities

Decentralization in Ukraine was launched in 2014, transferring the power and resources from the state to the local self-government. As the new communities, referred to as “amalgamated territorial communities” or ATCs, were forming in Ukraine, local self-government bodies approached challenges in water supply with new available tools and opportunities.

From 2014 onwards, the relevance of community-based approaches for service provision (as implemented by DESPRO in early project phases) was under question. Thus, DESPRO has been focusing on “local government-led projects”, providing direct support to local self-government bodies to deliver municipal services, including water supply and sanitation (WSS). The map of the project’s intervention changed as well, with inclusion of Ukrainian Government-controlled territories of Luhansk region instead of the now-annexed Crimea AR.



The DESPRO support to ATCs and small cities consisted of two interrelated components:

    Participatory WSS sector planning            Improving the performance of WSS service operators (communal enterprises)   

The following activities characterize the approach used:

a. Comprehensive audit of the system: assessment of planning structure and management processes in the sector at community level, and assessment of WSS operator on the number of areas (efficiency of managing financial and non-monetary assets of the enterprise; accounting and financial reporting; processes to carry out technical and economic analysis; competences of the management and staff; competences to use strategic planning and programming tools to support economic activities; the overall technical status of water supply system)

b. Participatory sector planning: the highlights from the audit pave the ground for strategic sector planning and programming. The strategic decisions form the basis of a targeted midterm WSS sector development programme for a 4-year period, including estimated funding for hard- and software development

c. Communal enterprise development plan: specific support is provided to the partnering communal enterprise in a form of Communal enterprise development plan, addressing all emerging and strategic financial, management and technical issues at the level of enterprise

d. Introduction of QGIS-based asset management system with an objective for enterprises to map the real status of the WSS network, plan capital and operational maintenance and further development

e. Performance based co-financing of hard- and software: DESPRO provides co-financing for modernization and development of water supply and sanitation systems in line with approved mid-term development programs. Usually the co-financing is provided on 50/50 basis, the other half had to be covered from local budgets. The co-financing is oriented to contribute to the community’s own activities. DESPRO funding is provided in several installments, according to the progress shown by the community in undertaking relevant action and fulfilling their own financial commitments.

f. Training, coaching and monitoring: the support package of DESPRO also includes extensive training, including individual and group workshops, in-region and inter-region exchange visits, on-the-job training, technical supervision of physical works, on-site coaching and monitoring visits.

>The description of DESPRO support of WSS in ATCs is available in the brief “Water Supply and Sanitation in Amalgamated Territorial Communitiesin the website library.


over 32’000 direct beneficiaries have received access to water and sanitation services for the first time or significantly improved supply for the first time as a result of the cooperation between DESPRO and 15 small cities/ATCs in 6 partner regions 

at least 173’000 residents benefited directly and indirectly from improved overall WSS services due to the DESPRO programmatic approach at the local level, which consistently led to an increase in overall service provision and governance of the sector

the DESPRO programmatic approach allowed local self-governments and communal enterprises to adequately plan the development of the sector for the whole community over a 4-year period

the introduction and installation of an asset management system using QGIS software allowed mapping of the status of the WSS network and plan for capital and operational maintenance and further development 

the development of WSS in partner communities was integrated into local policies and procedures, also considering issues of strategic development for the relevant community

a series of manuals, practical guides, videos have made this specific knowledge available for thousands of other local government and WSS professionals, reaching thousands of practitioners 

at least 50% of the total project costs mobilized by partner communities from their local budgets to co-finance the implementation of specific activities approved in the local Water Supply programmes

at least 100 people reinforced their capacities, including community leaders, local self-government officers, communal enterprises staff who have upgraded/learnt new knowledge


The detailed methodology and lessons learned by DESPRO focusing on local government-led projects after 2016 are described in a separate brief, available in the website library.

The detailed methodology and lessons learned by DESPRO between 2007-2016 are described in the “Rural Water Supply” brief, available in the website library.

The collection of DESPRO impact stories including stories of water supply projects' 
beneficiaries is available in the website library.

Infographics "Way Towards Good Governance in Rural Water Supply"

For news and updates on water supply and sanitation projects:

 Visit the News section of the website in English and in Ukrainian              Follow DESPRO Facebook page   

More resources, manuals and publications are available in Ukrainian in the website library