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Getting to scale in urban water supply

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Josephine Tucker, Nathaniel Mason

Scale-up of urban water services which meet the needs of low-income populations is a pressing challenge in most African cities. Ensuring the quality, reliability and affordability of water services to low-income residents typically remain elusive goals.

The WSUP experience in Maputo and Antananarivo (2008-2012) suggests that useful strategies include the following:

  • overcome the prevailing pattern whereby connections are unaffordable for the poor, and engage simultaneously to support and encourage a pro-poor agenda
  • develop capacity at all levels to strengthen management and ensure accountability, within policy of formal cost recovery
  • recognise that contractual responsibilities and incentives for delegated management take time to become clear, so that contracts will need flexibility to evolve over time
  • address non-revenue water, highlighting that NRW reduction can increase revenues and enable improvement of services to low-income areas and
  • adopt a realistic and incremental approach to achieving full water supply services at scale
Josephine Tucker and Nathaniel Mason