Water

An aeration tank in a wastewater treatment facility in Brazil. © Aegea Brazil 

Expanding access to clean water and basic sanitation services is fundamental to reducing poverty. Under-investment in water infrastructure can have very serious health and social implications, and impede economic development.

IFC is committed to expanding access to clean water and improved sanitation in developing countries where contaminated water and inadequate sanitation cause roughly 675,000 premature deaths per year, mainly among children.

Water supply and sanitation services, including wastewater treatment, are fundamentally linked to quality of life and development prospects in developing countries, where some 663 million people lack access to clean water and 2.5 billion live without modern sanitation.

Our goal is to ensure reliable services for those who need them—particularly the poor—in a sustainable and affordable way.

While most of the World Bank Group’s activities in the water sector involve supporting publicly run utilities—through grants, loans, and technical assistance—there are situations where carefully managed public-private partnerships or private tenders can get clean water to more people more quickly and efficiently than state operators can manage on their own.

IFC provides financing, transaction advice, and technical support in situations where governments seek private sector solutions for water supply and delivery services or for municipal infrastructure upgrades.

One of the ways IFC is responding to these challenges is by enabling partnerships between governments and private operators to bring the needed capital, expertise, and technology to improve water access and services. Working alongside government, civil society, and other stakeholders, the private sector can provide complementary knowledge, experience, and insights to address critical issues of water resource management.

Properly structured PPPs can play an important role in addressing the global water issues of today, and IFC’s track record in structuring PPPs is strong. Long-term evaluations of our projects prove that concessions can have a positive impact on levels of access and quality of services for the population.

IFC’s Approach to Public-Private Partnerships in the Water Sector >>

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Related Links

2030 Water Resources Group

World Bank Water Practice