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• Lack of authority
Despite government's commitment to strengthen local government institutions like municipalities, the latter is suffering from lack of authorities in many respects. Many municipal authorities realized that the existing tariff structure should be revised and updated in order to make water supply and sanitation (WSS) sustainable, but present laws and authority do not allow them to revise tariff levels according to their need. They also need permission from government to create posts or to appoint anybody, although municipalities are bearing the cost for it. A tendency to control the local government institutions in every matter frustrates pourashavas and lead them to dependency on central government. Since they suffer from lack of resource, government provides them grants for development, retaining mechanisms to control and regulate them. Eventually, the local government institutions including municipalities become more and more dependent on government support.

• Lack of commitment
Lack of commitment of the local municipal leaders towards development of sustainable WSS system has also been observed. It has further been observed that tariff rates are not normally increased in case of being unpopular. Revenue income from water supply is sometimes spent for other works, and existing laws are not enforced for nonpayment of bills or for irregular connections. All the factors discussed above are linked with each other. Inadequate tariff leads to low revenue earning, low revenue means sufficient resource is not available to address proper operation and maintenance, which in turn leads to poor management causing wastage and leakage. Poor management  generates lack of confidence, which discourages existing consumers to pay water bills and to take new connections. Unaccounted for water and less number of connections (under utilization of water supply capacities) again contribute to less revenue income. In Bangladesh all these factors form a vicious cycle where the 'sustainability' issue is critical.

Policies and strategies
The Government in 1998 framed a national policy for water supply and sanitation. The broad objectives of the policy of the policy are to improve the standard of public health and to ensure an improved environment. The policy approach included the following aspects. In the near future water tariffs shall be determined on the basis of the cost of water production, operation and maintenance, administration, and depreciation.

Water Supply and Sewerage Authorities (WASAs) shall be responsible for Sustainable water supply in the metropolitan areas. In Other urban areas the pourashavas, (municipalities) with the help of DPHE, shall be responsible for the service. They shall be empowered to set tariffs, by-laws, appointment of staff, etc., according to their needs and in accordance with guidelines laid down by the government.

WASAs and the pourashavas shall improve their operational efficiency including financial management. In the near future billing and collection targets will be 90% and 80% respectively. They will take actions to prevent the wastage of water. In addition they will take necessary steps to increase public awareness to prevent misuse of water. Pourashavas will take appropriate measures to reduce unaccounted for water from 50% Dhaka WASA and Chittagong WASA will also lower their unaccounted for water from the present levels.

Private sector participation will be promoted through BOO/BOT and other arrangements. For this purpose, opportunities will be created for involving the private sector in billing and collection. A guideline on private sector participation in the sector will be prepared by the government.

The sanitation system shall have to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Sanitary latrines in every household will be promoted. Public and community latrines will be set-up by the city corporation/pourasshava and leased out to the private sector for maintenance. In the water supply and sanitation sector, the local government division will be responsible for overall planning, identification of investment projects, and coordination of activities of agencies under it including public and local government bodies, private sector, and community-based organization. But each of the organizations will be responsible for its own activities. The relevant WASA will be responsible for water supply and sanitation in Dhaka and Chittagong city areas. Involvement of the private sector in these activities will be explored, examined, and encouraged.

The government is dominating the sector by its activities in policy framing, regulation making, planning, designing, implementing, and monitoring. The main reason for government dominance is the resource. Since government institutions are lacking in resources and the private sector is not encouraged to invest for big projects, government alone is investing as far as possible to meet the demands of the sector. In addition, the government has to support the pourashavas and even the two big WASAs in implementing their water and sanitation projects. The natural consequence is government direct control in all matters of the sectoral activities from policy framing and planning to implementing, monitoring, and evaluation.