Water Services Management



Performance Enhancement of Water utilities in Kenya through benchmarking, collective learning and innovative financing (PEWAK). Within this project, the input of the Water Services Management group concerns the analysis of strategies that water service providers in Kenya design and implement to provide water services to low-income areas. As part of this activity, a benchmarking system to compare strategies and performance of water service providers in serving low-income areas is developed and implemented.


Boosting Effectiveness of Water Operator Partnerships (BEWOP). This project aims at assisting and enhancing the knowledge transfer and change processes, and hence to foster the effectiveness of water operator partnerships (WOPs). The BEWOP project is a collaboration of the UN-Habitat Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) and IHE Delft. BEWOP is targeted towards the development of guidelines, trainings and tools that allow water operators to develop more effective partnerships to improve provisioning of water services.


Water Supply and Sanitation in Small Towns: the urban rural intersection (SMALL). The SMALL project is an innovative and interdisciplinary research focusing on water and sanitation management in small towns of Sub-Saharan Africa. In these towns, that form the intersection between urban and rural, existing coverage of basic public services is lagging behind, hindering the achievement of SDG6. This research trying to take a concrete action for tackling this problem, aims to assess existing models of water and sanitation provision by studying to what extent current infrastructural and management models reflect the specificities of small towns or rather mimic models implemented in large urban centres.  This research will put users at the forefront by integrating public health protection into the management models, leading to a positive impact on health of users in the long run. The way technological solutions are being selected, and how financial, operational and commercial risks are allocated and distributed is studied in order to transform the provision of water and sanitation services in an informed, inclusive and sustainable process. Moreover, this research explore the implications of existing and proposed management models and interventions for the users and how it affects the dynamics and interdependencies between urban and rural realities.

This research makes sure that the realities and possibilities of small towns are taken into account in national policies by producing specific knowledge on water supply and sanitation (WSS) in small urban settlements and providing concrete recommendations to improve current practices. This research also documents the specific needs of small towns when it comes to water and sanitation management, both for productive use and human consumption taking into account the particular development processes within small towns as well as the urban/rural dynamics. This project contribute, in coordination with local partners, to the development of new models for water management and provision of water and sanitation services, which will potentially result in more sustainable outcomes for service providers and users.  



Enabling the assessment of alternative water supply systems to promote urban water security in the Global South (AltWater). This research investigates ways to increase the self-reliance and sustainability of cities in the global South with regard to water supply by relieving pressure on traditional sources through the implementation of alternative water systems (for example rainwater harvesting, wastewater reuse, desalination). With partner cities in Mozambique and Indonesia, this project is developing a tailor-made approach in each city to evaluate the potential of alternative systems to contribute to urban water supply and security. Assessment of site-specific aspects of potential systems, including yield (water volume) and reliability, cost, institutional and socio-environmental factors across the city area are also carried out.

AltWater addresses an important gap in the development and uptake of alternative water systems, which lies in the lack of assessment frameworks for these schemes. This project adopts a novel “Leader-Follower” City approach whereby Maputo and Surabaya are designated as leader cities. These two cities will then become primarily responsible for developing and training capacity in the Follower City (Beira and Gresik respectively). Local partners will gain knowledge and expertise in alternative supply assessment and planning through participation in the research. Collaboration and knowledge exchange between partners is also strengthened, increasing capacity and networks.



In Uganda, it is estimated that access to safe water in the major towns is about 68%. The majority of the population living in small towns and rural areas depend on unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation exposing them to disease and resulting in loss of productivity. The project Alternative Approaches and Tools for Improved Water Supply and Sanitation for Towns in Northern Uganda, takes place In this context and proposes interventions aimed at increasing access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation in the medium term.

The interventions shall focus on institutional development, capacity development, infrastructural improvements, community mobilization through WASH activities and exploration of alternative energy sources to boost reliability of water supply.

The key outcomes include adequate safe water, increased coverage, consumer based management systems for continuity and sustainability, improved water supply reliability and increased per capita consumption from an approximate 50l/c/d to70l/c/d and in the long term increased productivity and livelihoods leading to economic growth.

In support of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, NWSC, this project aims to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation in towns in Northern Uganda through capacity development, system expansion, improved functionality of the water schemes by ensuring reliable power supply, installation of renewable energy facilities, use of asset management best practices, provision of water and sanitation infrastructure to selected educational and health establishments, and to targeted informal settlements.

The specific objectives in which the water services management group is involved are to:

  1. Enhance sustainable water management through dynamic tailor made capacity development and knowledge transfer programmes for the operator and local communities.
  2. Design and roll-out appropriate tools and approaches to serve vulnerable groups (including a pro-poor policy adapted to the small towns in Northern Uganda).

The WSM and IHE Delft interventions include but not are not limited to the following:

  1. Capacity Development Enhancement: The proposed capacity development (CD) framework aims at improving service delivery and ensuring sustainability. The CD programme will be developed from an assessment of capacity needs at the organisational and individual levels.
  2. Establish a Pro-poor Strategy: A pro-poor strategy for smaller towns will be required as the size and socio-economic characteristics of these towns do not necessarily lend themselves for the application of the same methods and tools being applied by the NWSC in the larger towns. The dedicated pro-poor strategy will be developed from the present urban pro-poor policies, strategies and related instruments and tools of the NWSC but these will be investigated for their suitability and where applicable will be modified to suit the characteristics of the small towns and the capacities of the local NWSC branches.