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WSUP reaches one million people with access to safe, affordable water and sanitation


Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) is a non-profit partnership between the private sector, NGOs and research institutions focused on contributing to the global problem of inadequate water and sanitation in low-income urban communities. It brings sustainable solutions by working in partnership with service providers, water utilities, local authorities, businesses, and the communities. Since they started in 2006 WSUP has reached over 1 Million people with improved access to safe, affordable water, improved sanitation and hygiene promotion education - a great achievement and contribution to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

In developing countries, water utilities and other service providers are often reluctant to work in poor and informal settlements because houses are often built on land with questionable property rights and they are afraid that poor people might not be able to pay for the water services. As a result, they that are not connected to the water network and forced to buy water from informal vendors. This water, which is often sold for a much higher price then piped water, is contained in bottles or tanks that are often unsafe and contaminated.

WSUP helps to establish business and financing models that would provide both profit for the utilities and affordable water prices for the poor communities. WSUP also encourages authorities to develop policies and pricing systems that are more favourable and affordable for the poor. For example in Maputo, low-income people could afford the monthly water tariff but could not afford the initial connection charge. Partly as a result of WSUP lobbying, the connection fee was reduced from US$ 155 to about US$ 70, with payment of 30% immediately and the remainder monthly for 13 months. In addition, WSUP worked with local community groups to help people with the paperwork involved in getting a new connection.

Another important element of the work done by WSUP is helping water utility companies to reduce the level of non-revenue water (NRW). NRW is the water that is not being billed either because it was lost through leaking pipes or because consumers did not pay for it. WSUP is training engineers from water authorities and utility companies on how to install and use monitoring and control equipment to detect pipe leaks. By fixing the detected leaks, the continuity of water supply is improved and people are not anymore forced to use unhygienic alternative water sources such as wells.

As a partner of WSUP, Borealis and Borouge contribute to their work with expertise such as contract design, non-revenue water reduction, financial modelling and business planning and effective branding and marketing used in the promotion of sanitation and hygiene  In addition, Borealis and Borouge is  represented on  the WSUP Board who meets quarterly and provides strategic direction, ensuring effective strategic planning and maintaining WSUP's legal, ethical and financial integrity and accountability.

Watch WSUP's video series about emerging solutions for improving water and sanitation services in low-income urban communities.

Read about the impact WSUP programmes are having on the lives of the urban poor.

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