Administrative Practice and Social Norms: The Case of Domestic Water Supply

It is widely recognized that poor governance is a major impediment in the provision of public goods. Pakistan is not an exception in this context and a number of studies have indicated institutional misgovernance as a major factor hindering public service delivery in the country. Literature suggests that practices like corruption, political interference, lack of accountability, and patron–client forms of behaviour provide significant explanation of the poor state of governance in Pakistan. This research compares the state of bureaucracy in Pakistan with an ideal state to highlight major diversions in governance with regards to provision of public goods.

Using ethnographic data collected in the case study of domestic water supply, the study examines the significance of social norms: in particular personal relationships and kinship ties. These social norms deeply affect the institutional provision and processes of drinking water to local citizens. Based on the data collected on issues surrounding domestic water supply in an urban union council Nawansher (Abat Abad), the study demonstrates how formal access to water is undermined by institutional practices, kinship ties and social relationships. The case study on water supply enables provides an understanding of how local political leaders subvert the formal authority of a local state institution. By examining the role of Nazim (Mayor), the study draws attention to the micro-dynamics of local governance whereby a local institution is caught between the political interests of the Nazimand the official norms governing the institution. On several accounts, the study explores the state official logics and constraints in providing access to water to local citizens in an impartial way. Contrary to the expectations of local citizens affected by the distribution and management of water supply, the distribution system was designed to serve the political and private interests.

Not only access to clean water problematic but social & political factors also affecting it: Dr. Shehryar Khan Toru on water supply system in Pakistan.

Social & political influences affects the smooth working of water supply system in cities like Nawansher. Many people illegally draining water out of main water supply system. Officials look after the interests of their political/personal clients, than following official norms & formal processes.




About Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP)

Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP) is an attempt to highlights real public issues, which include social, economic and political issues, and complete policy analysis of that issues having experts opinion and analysis on it. SDLP will raise all public issues on the basis of facts and figures and try to advocate at highest forum which may influence the policy makers and draw their attentions towards real problem. SDLP also welcome to those who want to contribute on our blog at For that you may send your queries/suggestions/articles etc at Twitter: or @rajataimur786 Facebook:
This entry was posted in Governance, Governance Issue, Health, Human Rights, Water Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

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