Publicly owned service providers are responsible for the vast majority of water and sanitation services in cities.

As cities grow rapidly, the need for improved water and sanitation services is increasing sharply.

But there simply isn’t the capacity within many service providers to provide these services, particularly to low-income customers.

They might lack adequate sources of investment, suffer from high water losses in their network, and lack the experience needed to provide services that are suitable for residents living in informal settlements.

Increasing the capacity of service providers is one of the most effective ways in which we can move towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation in urban areas.

For us, capacity building entails knowledge transfer through technical assistance as well as demonstration of innovative technologies that help utilities and businesses to better serve their customers.

Utility Strengthening Framework

Based on the logic that effectiveness across the breadth of an organisation is necessary to deliver services to the poorest residents, WSUP has developed a Utility Strengthening Framework, which provides an approach to improving how a utility can function across the entirety of its operations.

Capacity building vs hand holding: how to avoid dependency syndrome 

A utility strengthening approach to tackling water scarcity


Helping utilities respond to Covid-19

Covid-19 has shone a spotlight on the water sector and many challenges have arisen as a result. Throughout the pandemic, WSUP has been working closely with utility companies, governments, and health services to implement a broad range of tactics to raise awareness of Covid-19, improve hygiene behaviours and keep infection rates as low as possible.

Building urban resilience in the face of covid-19: new video shows our hygiene work in Ghana and Kenya

At the epicentre of the crisis: battling to provide clean water in Kenya 

Communal sanitation blocks in Maputo

Enabling utilities to make better use of their available water

As the demand for water increases, and climate change places stress on water availability, finding ways to effectively manage water has never been more urgent.

High levels of water wastage can mean customers can’t get the water to their taps. Poor billing also has an significant impact, resulting a lack of income for a utility which compromises its ability to invest in improved services.

The Leak Squad: preserving Antananarivo’s most precious resource

Installing a flow meter to enable District Meters Areas in Madagascar

Supporting small-scale sanitation operators

The private sector can play a valuable role in the collection of faecal waste from pit latrines and septic tanks. WSUP has found that small businesses and entrepreneurs benefit from training to help them provide suitable services to vulnerable households whilst also building their businesses. We have worked to build the capacity of these operators in Bangladesh, Kenya and Mozambique.

Scaling up a public-private partnership in Bangladesh video

Learn more about WSUP’s enterprise development work