August 25, 2021

New Report on SWE COVID Resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing institutions throughout the world. Access to safe water has never been more important, particularly with handwashing as a frontline defense against infection. Water service providers are enduring greater challenges due to increased supply demands and operational constraints, as well as health and safety requirements. Safe water enterprises (SWEs), in particular, are facing significant difficulties as they operate in low-income communities with resource constraints. This crisis calls for unprecedented collaboration and required implementers and their partners to act quickly to keep the water flowing and meet demand.

We published a joint report on the resiliency of SWEs with the Community of Practice, a global collaboration working collectively to advance the SWE sector. This report evaluates the financial and operational impact of COVID-19 on SWEs, but also serves as a vehicle for collaboration to identify trends, and develop common tools for managing crises of infectious disease. Members of the Community of Practice for SWEs who contributed to the report include: JibuUntappedWater4Water for GoodWater for People, and Water Mission

Download the Report

Join us at World Water Week 2021 for a live conference session, "Resiliency of Small Water Enterprises in Response to COVID-19," at 1:00 PM EST / 10:30 PM IST on August 26, as we present our findings together with Water for GoodWater MissionWater4 in conversation with the World Bank Group and the Osprey Foundation.


We found that SWEs not only persevered through this pandemic, but certain characteristics of the SWE model have primed implementers for resiliency:

  • Field teams rose to the challenge and kept stations running, demonstrating the SWE model of centralized management and maintenance as not only a solution for rural water supply failure but also a resource for problem-solving in times of extraordinary difficulty.
  • Local capacity building developed strong communities, helping with implementation of new policies and keeping stations running when field teams were restricted by travel bans.
  • Openness to digital technology empowered implementers to utilize remote monitoring and digital transactions to limit infection and adapt to travel restrictions.
  • A network of donors acted swiftly to provide capital for new resources and expanded service.

Please download and read our report to learn more about our research and gain access to tools like our M&E Framework and Stakeholder Checklist.