Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 5 Number 4 (2013)

doi: 10.3850/S1793924013000035

Reconstruction of the Water Supply System in a Post-Conflict Country: The Case of Dili, Timor-Leste

Linya Yamamoto
Department of International Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, 5-1-1, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa city, Chiba, 277-8563, Japan.


Water is indispensable for all people. Conflicts arise, however, that often devastate the local water supply causing consumers to lose accesses to their water source. After the conflict in Dili, various international societies often lent a helping hand to provide safe water in sufficient quantities as quickly as possible. However, despite the fact that it has been ten years since the conclusion of the Dili conflict, the situation on the ground has scarcely improved. Consumers can only use water for about 2–3 hours each day, leakages are estimated at 80%, and no one pays the tariff. This is mostly because the aid, which aimed at improving both the quantity and quality of the water supply, was not best suited for the situation in Dili. Dilihas unique differences from other developing countries in the areas of capacity, population, and need. These differences rendered recovering the water supply system quite difficult despite the ‘ideal’ policies of aid agencies. This paper suggests that the best way to recover the water supply in Dili was to follow the real crisis on the ground, which focused on improving the quantity. Constructing a stable systemthat can supply water for consumerswill subsequently improve the entire water supply system.

Keywords: Water supply system, Aid policy, Tradeoff, Quantity and quality.

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