Quenching a Thirst: Digital Finance and Sustainable Water Service for All

Paper
Date Published: 
Apr 2017
Author: 
Waldron, D. & Sotiriou, A.
Publisher: 

Can innovative technology improve service delivery?

One of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals is to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all". The word “sustainable” has many implications related to the management of water resources, and also to the universal delivery of services to all people. Digital financial services (DFS) are important tools that help make water provision financially and operationally sustainable by linking innovative technology with improved ways of delivering the service.

This Brief looks at how digital finance can help to:

  • Reduce the time and expense of paying water bills by using digital payments;
  • Link digital payments with prepaid "smart" meters to create an improved, pro-poor service;
  • Expand access to credit for onsite water connections;
  • Enable governments or other providers to subsidize low-income water access more effectively.

The brief uses examples ranging from Safe Water Networks' micro-utilities in Ghana to Water.org's WaterCredit program in India to illustrate how digital finance is beginning to drive financially sustainable ways of delivering what we cannot live without: water.

Type: 
Paper