Water Essentials

The Untapped Potential of Decentralized Solutions to Provide Safe, Sustainable Drinking Water at Large Scale

Jan. 2017
This report argues that new approaches are needed to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 by 2030. Through the analysis of 14 different small water enterprises, the report uncovers bottlenecks to scale and sustainability.



Not Just a Drop in the Bucket: Expanding Access to Point-of-Use Water Treatment Systems

Mintz, E., Bartram, J., Lochery, P., Wegelin, M.
American Journal of Public Health; Vol 91, No 10
Oct. 2001

Piped water expansion rarely targets the needs of disadvantaged populations. Point-of-use water treatment is the most effective system for such communities, and helps improve their health, leading to productivity and development. But to be most effective, behavior change is also required.

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A Brief Review of Groundwater for Rural Water Supply in Sub-Saharan Africa

MacDonald, A., Davies, J.
British Geological Survey; DFID
Jan. 2000

Groundwater is the most reliable water source in rural sub-Saharan Africa. There are four main hydrogeological environments in this region. However, due to the chemical composition of these environments, they are not always fit for human consumption.

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Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in the Urban Water and Sanitation Market

Solo, T.
Apr. 1999

Small-scale enterprises such as NGOs and private suppliers have been really succesful in providing water and sanitation services to marginalized communities. By improving public policy, these organizations can be united to decrease inefficient competition and improve supply quality and quantity.

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Frontier Capital: Early Stage Investing for Financial Returns and Social Impact in Emerging Markets

Bannick, M., Goldman, P., and Kubzansky, M.
Omidyar Network

Low- and lower-middle income populations have huge unmet needs and face quite a bit of instability - challenges that can be addressed by innovative business models. Companies serving this demographic represent an under-tapped opportunity both for financial returns and for outsized impact. 

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Water and Sanitation

Bosch, C., Hommann, K., Rubio, G., Sadoff, C., Travers, L.

This chapter describes how adequate water and sanitation resources can reduce poverty. It recommends improving policy such that private sector social enterprises can thrive. For public-operated services, increasing standards to those recognized internationally is recommended.

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Partnerships in Urban Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)


Rapid urbanization has put a strain on water and sanitation in urban communities. Through public-private partnerships, USAID aims to strengthen and scale up small water enterprises and sanitation systems to reduce maternal and child deaths from malnutrition and water-borne diseases.

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Benin: Piped Water Supply Systems in Rural and Small Towns

International Finance Corporation
World Bank Group; Water and Sanitation Program; DevCo; Royaume des Pays-Bas

Part of a series providing an overview of public-private partnership stories in various infrastructure sectors, this paper summarizes the steps IFC took as lead transaction advisor to structure, tender, and implement a public-private partnership for ten pilot sites. 

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Journeys for Water: Survival Strategies in Urban India

Bhushan, G., Gupta, N., Fuqua, J.

To understand the value of clean drinking water in India, the report studies the politics, rituals, and practices that exist around drinking water, specifically a slum in Delhi. It also explores existing water delivery systems and the potential of introducing new ones.

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Smart Micro-Grids


Harbinger has developed a set of software and services needed for planning, executing, and operating smart micro-grids in under-resourced environments. Smart micro-grids are efficient, renewable long-term energy solutions for under-resourced communties.

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Master Plan - Five Year Strategic Plan 2013-2017: Ghana Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme

Ghana Health Service

Ghana has a number of endemic neglected tropical diseases and the government has initiated a 5 year financing and delivery plan which includes improved water and sanitation supply. The aim is to prevent, control, and eliminate the NTDs by 2020.

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