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publication June 22, 2020

Financing Universal Water and Sanitation Services in the COVID Era


The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated necessary public health measures required to combat it, are presenting water supply service providers and governments globally with several challenges, including threats to the continuity of service provision. Given the importance of handwashing and adequate water supply provision in disease prevention generally, and in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in particular, the governments around the world have ordered emergency response measures to ensure that water and sanitation services are not interrupted during the pandemic period. Such measures include policies to provide free water to the vulnerable populations, suspend service disconnections resulting from lack of payment, freeze tariff increases, and use tankers to enhance services, among others. As a result of declining tariff revenues and increasing operating expenses, the water service providers are facing liquidity problems that risk sustainability of their services.  

Given this context, the World Bank's Water Global Practice has developed the following tools to equip Bank task teams and government counterparts/service providers with guidance to respond to an emergency, such as the current COVID 19 pandemic: i) COVID Financial Impact Assessment Tool for Water Service Providers (WSPs) is a financial planning tool that can be utilized to quantify the financial impact of the various emergency measures taken to respond to COVID-19 pandemic, on the monthly cash flows of the water and sanitation service providers; and ii) Considerations for Financial Facilities to Support Water Utilities in the COVID-19 Crisis is a working paper that lays out the principles to consider in designing the financial/liquidity facilities to support water service providers in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

These tools are the products of the staff of The World Bank with external contributions. Any findings, interpretations, and conclusions derived from this model do not necessarily reflect the views of The World Bank, its Board of Executive Directors, or the governments they represent. These works are subject to copyright. Because the World Bank encourages dissemination of its knowledge, these tools are made available for public use as long as full attribution to the works are given.

As there are initiatives to scale up the training on the COVID Financial Impact Assessment Tool for WSPs, by the World Bank staff, donors and development partners, users are strongly encouraged to provide feedback and the major findings resulting from the use of the model.   It is recognized that some organizations may want to customize a version of the model for more detailed analysis.  For any of these points, please contact: Aileen Castro (acastro2@worldbank.org) of the World Bank for further information and discussion.

Download the Resources 

  1. Financial Impact Assessment Tool for WSPs: The Tool in Excel File
  2. Financial Impact Assessment Tool for WSPs: Accompanying Guide
  3. Considerations for Financial Facilities to Support Water Utilities in the COVID-19 Crisis


About GWSP


These tools received the support of the Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP). GWSP is a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank’s Water Global Practice and supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austria’s Federal Ministry of Finance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, U.K. Department for International Development, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Please visit us at www.worldbank.org/gwsp or follow us on Twitter #gwsp.