Strategic marketing of water services in developing countries

2012-05-17T11:58:11Z (GMT) by Cyrus Njiru Kevin Sansom
The recent (2000) global water supply and sanitation assessment by the World Health Organisation found that over one billion people do not have access to improved water supply. The finding points to the challenges faced by municipal engineers and other professionals responsible for the provision of water services in developing countries. Population growth and the increasing poverty, particularly in the urban areas, compound the challenge. A key objective for water utilities is to provide services to the growing population, including the poor, in a financially sustainable manner. Strategic marketing offers an innovative method of meeting this objective. Research aimed at adapting and developing a marketing approach for use in the water sector was carried out in a number of developing countries between 1999 and 2001, with detailed field research in Kenya, Uganda and India. This paper discusses strategic marketing of urban water services and provides a methodology that water utilities could use to structure their service delivery options to customers while meeting their financial objectives. The paper outlines how utilities could structure service delivery with appropriate pricing and serve more excluded customers (including the poor) at affordable cost and achieve financial sustainability. The paper concludes that strategic marketing of water services has potential to improve services to existing and excluded (potential) customers while improving the utility's revenue base.