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Best Practices | April 13, 2023

Engaging the Informal Private Water Sector to Respond to Water Supply Needs in Urban Areas: Final Report (2023)

CRS completed a comparative operational research project that evaluated which was the most effective and sustainable way of meeting populations water needs in urban areas. The research asked the following: ‘Is it more effective to directly support an existing informal private water sector rather than rehabilitating existing boreholes, equip these up to standards and hand them over to a community managed water committee?’. The research was implemented in Maiduguri, Nigeria, a context affected by a protracted humanitarian crisis. The research began with a comprehensive assessment of the water market, followed by pilot activities that supported and incentivized private borehole owners and water pushcart sellers to improve their practices and water delivery services. The pilot activities were then monitored alongside community-managed water supply practices and delivery services to generate evidence on the effectiveness of both intervention types. The project highlights the importance of always engaging with any existing formal or informal private water sector, particularly during humanitarian responses as the informal sector can play a key role to meet emergency water needs.