Why this Innovation is Important

In Ghana, digital finance strengthens our Safe Water Stations’ financial and operational performance while enhancing service delivery, especially at the household level. With its increased flexibility and security, digital finance empowers customers to plan, budget for, and manage their water use. Customers will be able to top-up RFID water ATM cards and prepaid “smart” meter balances for household connections via cashless payments at any place and time. Additionally, automated data collection will provide a rich dataset from which we can yield insights on how best serve consumers and design activation programs that motivate to purchase more safe water more often.

How this Contributes to the Long-term Success of our Model

Digital finance improves our stations’ ability to collect revenue and pay certain operating costs more efficiently. Collecting cash for revenue is labor-, time-, and cost-intensive; implementing digital finance reduces the amount of time station operators need to dedicate collecting cash, refill water ATM card balances, or travel to household connections for invoicing. Along with water ATMs and prepaid “smart” meters for household connections, digital finance is also expected to increase revenue (+15%) and reduce OpEx (-15%) by capturing full payments for water purchases and eliminating labor, travel, and manual record-keeping costs. As convenience is a key driver of consumer behavior, such innovations have the potential to increase water consumption over time, as they bring much more of the community population within 100 meters of a water sales point.

Progress to Date

Under a project funded by GSMA and FIBR, Safe Water Network is collaborating with mobile network operator MTN Ghana to design a water app for mobile money that connects with stations’ water ATMs and prepaid meters for household connections.

Next Steps

Once water ATM and prepaid “smart” meters are integrated into the mobile money platform, discussions with partners to integrate the data into our mobile monitoring platform will begin. Under this project, Safe Water Network is planning to pilot cashless payments through the new mobile money platform in 3-4 communities to demonstrate how digital finance improves access to safe water and the financial viability of stations.

For More Information

To learn more about how you can help us develop digital finance contact: Lauren Cuscuna

August 24, 2018
This Field Insight examines the ways in which prepaid, mobile-money-enabled meters for household connections improve station financial viability and consumer satisfaction.