Water supply in urban or Peri-urban environments 

Serving the urban poor: a major challenge

The rapid growth  of the big developing cities is associated with a huge and increasing demand for urban services. The low-income populations are concentrated in the peripheral areas of the city, in precarious housing. In such areas, the demand for water supply and sanitation services is strong, and even solvent, but large companies do not know how to respond appropriately and especially at a reasonable cost.
Large distribution companies need to develop a strategy, specific tools and suitable management methods to improve their performance with poor users. Whether to extend the service to new neighborhoods to identify new forms of semi-collective adapt the commercial offering of the company in a logic of informed demand.

HYDROCONSEIL can offer a panel of solutions, thanks to its extensive experience, gained from many years of work with development operators and large distribution companies. Hydroconseil has experience in:

  • • the extension of services to new neighborhoods,

  • • the identification of new forms of semi-public management,

  • • the adaption of the companies’ commercial offer in a logic of informed demand


The advantages of HYDROCONSEIL

Our approach to low-income neighborhoods is not limited to water and sanitation, but is also used to the other public commercial services network, such as electricity, for which the demand is very high in the slums.

HYDROCONSEIL’s offer in this field is comprehensive. HYDROCONSEIL has expertise in:

  • • demand assessments and economic characterization (willingness to pay, etc.).

  • • the definitions of appropriate standards of service, either technically or in terms of the business relationship between the user and the enterprise;

  • • cost analysis of the service and conception of tariff structures;

  • • the methods of service management, including the delegation of the service to associations and private operators at the level of the neighborhoods

  • • the identification of (small) existing private operators, the design of proposals for their articulation with the “formal” water service;

  • • the capitalization of experiences, the development of teaching guides;

  • • the conception of institutional patterns involving private and public actors, neighborhood associations as well as local authorities, etc..


Some of our references:


Haïti : rehabilitation of the public utitity in the slums of Port-au-Prince

In Port-au-Prince, Haïti, HYDROCONSEIL is involved since 1995 in a program of water supply for the slums, where more than half of the capital inhabitants live. HYDROCONSEIL gives a technical support to the public water supply company (the CAMEP) and to a French NGO (the GRET) in charge of the implementation of the project. Financing of the European Union, the French agency of development and the UNESCO.

In the eyes of the public company, the disadvantaged neighborhood is a single subscriber (the Water Committee), which is subject to a subscription agreement, giving them a legal existence. The Committees insure the water supply in the neighborhood (through public kiosks), satisfying the demand of the poorest consumers.

Given the success of the approach (implemented in 14 districts, representing 200,000 people), the CAMEP wished to extent the experience to other low-income neighborhoods; as a result, the approach is now implemented in around 30 districts.

With the profits from the sale of water in the neighborhood, the Water Committees can co-finance small sanitation and embellishment works in the area. The more dynamic Committees in terms of financial management have been able to finance different works, between them a bridge to cross a ravine, a block of latrines and a block of showers…


Argentina : improving the serving of the Peri-urban areas of Buenos Aires

Water supply and sanitation of the "Great Buenos Aires" (12 million of inhabitants) is the subject of a concession from the State to Aguas Argentinas (Argentine company from which almost 40% of shares are held by Ondeo Services).

HYDROCONSEIL provided a technical support to Aguas Agentinas (in the form of the provision of an expert for 12 months, with a funding from the Inter-American Development Bank) on:

  • • the demand analysis (for water and sanitation), and the consideration of this analysis in the technical and financial proposals.

  • • the formation of a multidisciplinary team in Aguas Argentinas, specialized in the approach "disadvantaged neighborhoods", which develops tools for the entire company;

  • • the establishment of a training plan internally, with the aim to train the managers and the field staff for the basic principles of intervention in this kind of neighborhoods;

  • • the establishment of partnerships with Argentine NGOs who provide - on behalf of Aguas Argentinas – study or animation services.

After this work, a guide of the best practices in the field of social intervention in low-income neighborhoods has been developed, for the benefit of Ondéo Services.


Népal : Improving the serving of the low-income families in Kathmandu 

With more than a million of people to serve in a very high density city, the state-owned water supply and sanitation company (NWSC: Nepal Water and Sanitation Company) experiences serious difficulties to fulfill its mission of public utility.

Prior to its leasing, planned by the Government of Nepal (with the support of the World Bank), a study was launched to determine the measures to be taken in order that the "privatization" of this public utility does not come at the expense of the serving of the low-income families.

 For this study, HYDROCONSEIL:

  • • estimated the water demand which is currently unsatisfied in the city;

  • • studied the different types of low-income populations living in the city;

  • • analyzed the current constraints hindering the increase of the service;

  • • analyzed the potential commercial strategies for the operator, and their impact on the servicing of the poor;

  • • developed recommendations for the lease contract: technical clauses (coverage, network expansion and supply options), institutional and financial (pricing, calculation of rent)

After this work, a guide of the best practices in the field of social intervention in low-income neighborhoods has been developed, for the benefit of Ondéo Services.


Assainissement au Mozambique / Sanitation in Mozambique
Pratiques de lavage des mains au Burkina Faso
Bassin transfrontalier de la Mékrou / Basin of the Mekrou
Mission au Libéria / Assignment in Liberia
Latrines en Mauritanie / Latrines in Mauritania
Kiosque à Haiti / Kiosk in Haiti