The impact of price increases on water station performance and inclusiveness in Ghana

Water utilities face the difficult challenge of balancing affordable water service provision and covering the costs of operation and maintenance (O&M) and sustainability reserves through water sales revenue - approximately 70% of all utilities globally do not fully cover costs with revenue. In April 2016, Safe Water Network (SWN) increased prices at 29 of its 35 Safe Water Stations in Ghana to adjust for increasing variable costs and high inflation. SWN analysed sales and consumer data before and after the price increase to understand the impact on financial viability and inclusiveness. Our analyses show a 12% reduction in consumer purchases overall in the 15 months following the increase, driven largely by decreased participation of low socio-economic status (SES) groups. However, evidence suggests that average monthly sales volumes are recovering to pre-price increase levels.