Water station, Bangladesh. Photo by Sohel Parvez Haque, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest Photo by Sohel Parvez Haque, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest

How Digital Finance Boosts Access to Basic Services

Access to clean water remains a luxury in many parts of the world. About 700 million people lack a clean water source, and it is estimated that 842,000 deaths per year could be prevented by improved access to water — a third of them children. One of the most difficult challenges in expanding access to clean water is helping water utilities become financially resilient in low-income areas, where revenue is generally low and operating costs are high. CGAP is exploring financial solutions that can help put water utilities on the path to sustainability by lowering costs. For example, prepaid water services similar to pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar loans can leverage digital payments and remote lockout technology to improve utilities’ ability to collect revenue, while advancing financial inclusion among poor customers.

Photo credit: John Hogg Water Projects, Lesotho, Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ Photo credit: John Hogg

This Brief on digital finance in the water sector looks at how people currently access water service, and finds that it varies from urban to peri-urban to rural areas.
Slide Deck

Digital Finance for the Real Economy: Water

This presentation is part of a series that synthesizes what we have learned and our insights into the power and challenges of digital finance.
Additional Resources

Over 3 billion people lack access to piped water in their homes. There are a number of ways digital financial services can help achieve access to clean water and sanitation for all.

Digitized water credit can help poor families overcome the often high upfront costs of connecting to safe water and sanitation systems, helping them to lead healthier lives.

A pilot in Ghana is showing that the pay-as-you-go solar model can be adapted to change how water is delivered to poor customers.