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UNDP Global

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Services and Supply Chains: The Role of the Domestic Private Sector in Water Service Delivery in Tanzania

Nov 2, 2015

This report presents findings from a review of the service activities of informal private water vendors in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s capital is a rapidly growing city, and around 70 percent of the population lacks proper housing and lives in informal settlements. Large parts of the city remain unserved by the water utility and many of those who have access to the piped network suffer from intermittent supply. As a result, small-scale private water vendors provide an essential service for many, in particular low-income households in the city.

Based on a small-sample survey of the operations of small-scale private vendors, the report finds that this segment of Dar es Salaam’s water sector considers water selling a business, just like any other. Vendors have shown agility in responding to gaps in public provision, and provide water in areas that would not otherwise be served. Yet, the overall result is an extremely costly service which heavily penalizes low-income households. The system that has evolved is highly fragmented, with some lengthy supply chains and a markup on prices at each stage.