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Weak financial governance and its impacts on WASH

Weak financial governance and its impacts on WASH

The Rural Water Supply Network held the webinar “Increased Resource Mobilisation for rural WASH in Africa”, where SWIM and Water Aid presented the impacts of governmental non-payment on the WASH financing landscape in rural areas based on the research conducted for the global advocacy campaign Government pay your water bills!.

Find the complete presentation here:



This session addressed a scarcely mentioned but globally prevalent issue: governmental non-payment of water bills. The result is the deprivation of water utilities of the indispensable resources to operate efficiently, undermining the fulfilment of the human right to safe water and sanitation.

Water and sanitation service providers must be able to operate and stay financially viable to serve everyone. But this ability is often at risk due to a financing landscape severely hampered by poor tariff administration, difficulties in collecting taxes and unreliable transfers from the central government.

Non-payment of tariffs by local government institutions is often overlooked as a bottleneck but contributes significantly to the financial and operational challenges, undermining the expansion of water infrastructure to marginalised communities in rural areas. In some African countries, governmental and institutional customers often account for 20-30 per cent of billing. Non-payment thus has a direct impact on the ability of utilities to provide adequate service.

Within a broader fiscal landscape, tariff restructuring and water bill payment must be addressed as part of a wider decentralised reform package that aims to bring transparent, accountable and sustainable funding for utilities in rural areas.

Check out the details about the “Government, pay your water bills!” campaign here.