The role for the private sector – particularly the local private sector– in water resource management and water services can assume a diverse range of activities and services. Private contractors, for example, commonly conduct pre-drill hydrogeological surveys and provide borehole drilling services for groundwater abstraction. Private sector companies can also construct and operate water treatment and distribution networks, possibly as a public-private partnership.

The sale of clean, safe water by a private operator using a market based approach – conceivably in the form of a profitable decentralized “micro-utility” as a sustainable business operation, can have significant economic impact through, among other benefits, improved community health and labor productivity.

However, private sector participation is also seen as a means of more fully leveraging the value of available water resources beyond the sale of treated water itself.  A key area for business growth that utilizes water is in food production and related industries.

Drip irrigation for vegetable growing, closed-loop water recycling in aquaponics systems, and efficient water use in livestock and poultry raising, along with water re-use in meat processing, are among the valued added business uses of water for food production. Businesses such as restaurants and manufacturing can in turn become subsidiary beneficiaries of these water dependent production activities.

What we do:

Water Pathways is in the early stages of working with nonprofits and local community groups to apply a multifaceted business approach for optimum water utilization. One such project in the planning stage is the Luveve Cultural Village Project in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe that is to include drip irrigation gardens, aquaponics, and a restaurant.