For 15 years, there were no standardized procedures for cleaning sewage systems in Baghdad. Backed-up sewage systems had become a way of life. Twenty-four blockages and overflows were identified in District 518 alone. Municipal staff could not remember the last time sewers had been cleaned. Even though the water supply was subsidized by the Mayoralty of Baghdad, the collection ratio was low. Citizens did not understand how much they needed to pay and why it was necessary to make certain payments. This low level of cost recovery not only affected the operation of sewage systems but it contributed to the city's inability to replace outdated equipment. To make a difference in the water and sanitation systems, stakeholders needed to address the following adaptive challenges:

  • How to engage citizens in sewage maintenance and payment even though they have never been engaged directly before. 
  • How to get mayoral and municipal levels to work together.
  • How to find solutions that comply with regulations and deliver results.

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