Water Services Management

Partnerships in the Water Sector

The model of a single service provider has proven to be insufficient to address the challenge of ensuring universal service coverage in most cities on the Global South.

Increasingly the water supply and sanitation sector is characterized by a growth in the number of ‘partnerships’. This growth not only relates to the number of partnerships, but also to the nature of these partnerships and the types of organizations involved. Partnerships increasingly consist of organizations operating at different scales, with different mandates and interests, adding to the complexity of how the water services sector is organized. 

Under this research theme the WSM Group particularly focuses on:

  1. Water Operator Partnerships (WOP) - Based on not-for-profit and peer-to-peer solidarity, this model envisages capacity development of water utilities through partnerships with well-performing utilities. This theme involves creating a better understanding of the approaches and functioning of WOPs, analyzing the barriers and obstacles encountered during these partnerships and developing guidelines and tools that can facilitate successful partnerships.  
  2. Small-Scale Independent Providers - Despite being ignored by international lending agencies, donors and (national) governments for much of the past decades, small-scale independent water providers are increasingly being hailed as an acceptable alternative to the provision of services by a formal public or private utility. This theme focuses on better understanding the functioning of SSIPs in developing countries. 

Coordinator: Klaas Schwartz