Corruption and Integrity

Water is a foundation for development. Without it, there’s no economic growth, no industry, agriculture or cities. Disease and infant mortality thrive. The hours lost daily fetching water keep women out of work and children out of school. By diverting resources from where they’re most needed, corruption exacerbates the already difficult challenges.

Corruption in water costs lives. Investing in water infrastructure and governance means jobs, agriculture, health, education and environmental protection. It’s a straightforward path to progress; yet, too often the path is blocked by corruption. That’s why there is a need to address corruption risks, increase transparency and accountability in the water sector. Coalition building and partnerships are essential to generate knowledge, capacity and awareness to tackle corruption in water. Read more on corruption in the water sector.


Water Integrity Tools

The Annotated Water integrity Scan is a diagnostic tool for multi-stakeholder workshops, and has three main objectives:

  • Establish an overview of the integrity of different sub-sectors of the water sector, to highlight areas which are vulnerable to corruption

  • Identify priority areas for action to enhance water integrity

  • Increase awareness about the water integrity situation and stimulate improvement

The tool includes an implementation guide on the organisation, preparation and implementation of an AWIS workshop, which describes each step of the process and makes suggestions for follow-up.


Organisations working on Water Integrity

Transparency International (TI) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting corruption. Active in nearly 100 countries and on the international stage, TI raises awareness of the devastating effects of corruption, and works with governments, businesses and international organisations to tackle corruption.

Gateway is about collecting, sharing and expanding knowledge on corruption assessment. It allows those who wish to measure corruption to match their needs with existing diagnostic tools.

Transparency International India (TII) is the accredited India chapter of Transparency International and is part of the Asia Pacific Forum comprising 20 nations. TII is a non-government, non-party and not-for-profit organisation of Indian citizens with professional, social, industrial or academic experience seeking to promote transparent and ethical governance and to eradicate corruption.

The UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI (WGF) provides strategic water governance support to developing countries to advance socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically efficient management of water resources and water and sanitation services to improve the livelihoods of poor people.

Tool sheets: A brief about various tools for assessing integrity in the water sector.


Integrity pacts: This pact is to ensure integrity in procurement processes, and has two main components:

  • a written agreement between the government and all bidders to refrain from bribery and collusion,

  • a monitoring system that provides for independent oversight and increased government accountability of the public contracting process.

Integrity pacts implementation guides have been developed specifically for the water sector.


The advocacy guide is a toolbox for advocating and campaigning on water integrity action.


The guide comprises five modules with various engaging, stimulating ideas and hands-on exercises for individuals and groups who want to get started in advocating for water integrity.


TAP risks

TAP risks is a tool that allows gaining a better understanding of the integrity of water service provision. The tool identifies relevant stakeholders and assesses the integrity of their relationships in terms of transparency, accountability and participation (TAP). 


Citizen report cards

Citizen report cards are an interactive learning tool is designed to assist individuals and organizations interested in carrying out a Citizen Report Card (CRC) study in the water and sanitation sector.

The methodology collects user’s actual feedback on public services on selective indicators to make the provider accountable for any lapses or the poor condition of services. The commonly used indicators are access, usage, quality/reliability, hidden costs (including bribery) and level of satisfaction.


Useful Links

Reports, articles, papers


Photos, slideshows

Training manual on water integrity

This training manual deals with the issue of integrity and anti-corruption in the water sector – one of the least addressed areas in the governance of water resources and services. It has been developed to assist in building institutional capacity, with water managers and other water decision-makers as the primary target group.


Water Management Transparency Index

This tool is designed to evaluate the level of transparency of water management. It is based on 80 indicators which look at:

  • general information about the relevant water agency,

  • public relations transparency in planning processes,

  • transparency in the use of water resources,

  • financial transparency, and

  • transparency in contracting

In addition, sase information sheets and tool sheets to support the use of this tool have been developed.


Corruption assessment in basic services

Corruption assessment in basic services are tools and methods which aim to diagnose corruption and/or corruption risks in the delivery of education, health and water and sanitation services. The scope of tools includes analyses of:

  • the overall political/governance situation in a sector

  • the flow of resources from government to service providers

  • the role of and relationships between different actors (e.g. service providers, service users, government officials)

  • specific processes within the broader system (e.g. health insurance, university admissions) and

  • particular corruption problems (e.g. teacher absenteeism, informal payments to doctors)

ASHWAS manual: This process handbook  is to serve as a useful template for those planning to embark on a participatory household water and sanitation survey. The handbook has detailed out the scope of planning and execution along with the resources, skills and time needed at each stage of the survey.

Water Integrity Network (WIN)

The Water Integrity Network (WIN) is an action-oriented coalition of organisations and individuals promoting water integrity to reduce and prevent corruption in the water sector.

WIN’s vision is a world with equitable and sustained access to water and a clean environment, which is no longer threatened by corruption, greed, dishonesty and willful malpractice. 

WIN’s mission is to increase integrity levels and reduce corruption in the water sector through a pro-poor and pro-equity focus. It works with partners and influences decision-makers to facilitate active multi-stakeholder coalitions and to build capacities for the use of tools and strategies for water integrity at all levels.

WIN’s work does not just concern preventing corruption, a big enough challenge in itself, but also ensuring that the poor participate meaningfully in decision-making processes and benefit in particular from the solutions put in place.

The WIN secretariat is hosted by Transparency International (TI) in Berlin, Germany. To know more about WIN, please visit: Also read WINs blog.



Featured Articles
October 21, 2019 In this interview, Joy talks about his work as an activist working in rural Maharashtra, and how he came to work on water conflicts in India.
KJ Joy speaks at a felicitation for the late Professor Ramaswamy Iyer.
September 30, 2019 The recently concluded 4 day conference in Bangalore looked at the current state of global water resource challenges & future pathways to achieve the SDGs, while ensuring equity in access to all.
Charles Vorosmarty, Chair, COMPASS Initiative, Water Future at the opening plenary on advanced water system assessments to address water security challenges of the 21st century.
September 26, 2019 A workshop in Bangalore explored water ethics and how it can be applied to water management.
From left to right - Siddharth Krishnan (ATREE), David Groenfeldt (Water Culture Institute), Sara Ahmed (University of Cambridge), Veena Srinivasan (ATREE), KJ Joy (SOPPECOM)
August 13, 2019 Magsaysay award winner & founder-editor of PARI, P Sainath analyses India's water scarcity, the agrarian crisis & farmer suicides, before asking: what can we do about it?
Picture: The semi-arid regions of the Moyar-Bhavani River basin in Tamil Nadu. Picture credit: Prathigna Poonacha, Tanvi Deshpande; Indian Institute for Human Settlements from India Water Portal on Flickr. Picture used for representational purposes only
June 28, 2019 An analysis of the new Nal se Jal scheme, promising drinking water to every household in India by 2024.
Image for representational purposes only. Image credit: India Water Portal on Flickr
Char Dham road widening: Activists up in arms against cutting of deodar trees
News this fortnight
Posted on 10 May, 2022 02:20 PM

Activists up in arms against the plan to cut down deodar trees for the widening of Char Dham roads

Rich, diverse forest of Uttarakhand (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)
Coal mining in Hasdeo forests gets a go ahead; protestors continue to resist
Policy matters this fortnight Posted on 10 May, 2022 07:34 AM

Chhattisgarh government allows coal mining in Hasdeo forests

Work in progress in a coal mine in India (Image source: IWP Flickr Album). Image for representation only
Centre launches Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain campaign, 2022
Policy matters this fortnight Posted on 06 Apr, 2022 10:24 AM

Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain campaign, 2022 launched during the 3rd National Water Awards

Catch the rain where it falls, when it fall (Image source: IWP Flickr album). Photo for representation only
Activists urge Chhattisgarh CM to rethink expansion of mining in Hasdeo Arand forest
News this fortnight Posted on 20 Dec, 2021 06:52 PM

Reconsider decision to expand mining in Hasdeo Arand forest: Activists to Chhattisgarh CM

A devastated forest at a coal mining site. Photo for representation only (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)
No improvement in the water quality of the Ganga during lockdown: CPCB
News this week Posted on 08 Oct, 2020 08:28 AM

Water quality of Ganga river remained grim during lockdown: CPCB

Ganga river at Kachla, Uttar Pradesh. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Governance lessons that could keep us prepared for pandemics
Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group speaks on rethinking aspects of our governance system in post-pandemic times. Posted on 30 Sep, 2020 05:09 PM

Unabashed assaults by human beings on the natural ecological system have caused the coronavirus to spread in the first place.

Decentralised governance systems that allow to adapt and learn are best placed to deal with disasters (Image: Kantsmith, Pixabay)
Decentralised governance key to handling Covid-19
There is a positive correlation between the panchayat raj system and effective handling of Covid-19, says Mani Shankar Aiyar. Posted on 22 Aug, 2020 07:38 PM

Panchayats have been the core of India's rural governance even before they received the constitutional mandate through the 73rd constitutional amendment in 1992, forming the basis of decentralization in the country. There are 2.5 lakh gram panchayats; over 6 lakhs villages; around 4500 urban local bodies and 4000 census towns in the country.

A first time Sarpanch of Lahora Gram Panchayat in Rajasthan’s Tonk District, stands committed, guiding the community with her political acumen. (Image: UN Women;CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Elected women leaders of gram panchayats: Critical roles in Covid-19 response
Women leaders of gram panchayats have ideated and executed solutions innovatively and instinctively on dealing with Covid-19 pandemic. Posted on 17 Jun, 2020 01:33 PM

Radha Devi, the sarpanch of Bhadsiya, Nagaur tehsil, Rajasthan dissuaded the principal of the government school from forcing girl students to fetch water for mid-day meal preparation during school hours and sent these girls back to their classrooms.

Women are emerging as effective leaders who can play constructive roles in containing the Covid-19 spread (Image: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Fire in Assam to have catastrophic effect on ecozones: Experts
News this week Posted on 11 Jun, 2020 09:04 PM

Fire breaks at an oil well in Assam damaging ecozones around the site

Migratory birds flock Maguri Beel, which is 500 m away from the incident site (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Need to build inclusive cities in the post-pandemic world
It’s time that public policy focuses on a radical re-envisioning of urban spaces and on improving social inclusion of migrants in urban settings. Posted on 12 May, 2020 08:36 PM

When migrants headed home after Covid-19 lockdown 1.0, Sarojini was suddenly caught off-guard. She decided against moving, after an initial urge to leave for her village in Samastipur, Bihar. Her two sons stay with her at Delhi, doing daily wage labour work, while she works as a domestic help.

Migrants on their way home during the countrywide lockdown (Image: Stranded Workers Action Network)