NEELY, K., 2015. Water supply as a common pool resource in Timor Leste. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Water, sanitation and hygiene services beyond 2015 - Improving access and sustainability: Proceedings of the 38th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough, UK, 27-31 July 2015, 6pp.
Spring fed water systems in Timor Leste are built in conjunction with communities. Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs rely on Community Action Planning (CAP) processes and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to ensure community participation and commitment to constructing toilets and water systems. At the conclusion of implementation the community is acknowledged as the owner of the water system and is expected to manage the system via an elected community water management group (GMF). This kind of community ownership indicates that both the water and the water system are assumed to be ‘common pool resources’. This paper considers the implications of recognising spring fed water systems as common pool resources. Observations and interviews for this research were conducted in East Timor as part of a larger study on complex adaptive systems. The theoretical framework is based on Elinor Ostrom’s design principles for managing common pool resources (Ostrom 2008).