Testing the Waters: Digital Payments for Water and Sanitation

A key barrier to universal access to water supply and sanitation (WSS) is that providers often lose money serving their current customers because tariffs are too low, non-revenue water levels are high, and collection rates are poor. Before they can expand their services to poorer households, WSS providers need to adopt service models that allow them to cover operational expenses while reaching low-income customers.

Digitizing payments in WSS can help to bring financial sustainability to these providers. CGAP and GSMA reached out to a subset of WSS providers to learn from their experiences in adopting digital payments. This paper shares practical experiences of adapting digital payments to WSS, highlight common challenges to digitization and successful approaches for overcoming them, and offer recommendations for WSS providers that want to digitize revenue collection.

“Testing the Waters: Digital Payments for Water and Sanitation.” Washington, D.C.: CGAP.