ROCKBlue is a trusted adviser to our partner utilities. We provide exceptional expertise and industry best practices. We purposefully limit our engagement, to avoid doing what utility staff and their private sector consultants are capable of doing themselves. We operate in the background and are highly respectful of each partner’s unique circumstances and needs.

This approach is based on the principles of durability (ROCKS) – Resources, Ownership, Connection, Knowledge and Secondary backup systems.  ROCKBlue supports utility employees to reach a higher level of self-reliance, creating an environment inducive to increased durability. ROCKBlue is both a "connector" and a "service provider" for our utility partners.


We Partner With Public Utilities

ROCKBlue partners with public utilities in the developing world to provide affordable advisory support to executives and managers. We do this through our extensive roster of international specialists who team up with senior staff members at the utilities to support and mentor them in the many aspects of managing and financing their operations.

Our objective is to collaboratively solve the unique challenges faced by the utility, in order to provide reliable and high-quality water and sanitation services to urban customers.

ROCKBlue partners with over-extended and under-resource water and sanitation utilities with a clear focus on strengthening the capacity of these utilities to:

  • Secure much needed financing to extend and improve services;
  • Respond to challenges in a timely and effective manner to minimize water supply disruption;
  • Strengthen relations between communities, customers and utilities so that all can work together to ensure reliable supplies of water; and
  • Enhance the long-term financial viability and durability of utilities so that services can continue well after external support is withdrawn.

Ultimately, ROCKBlue strives to collaborate with the utility until the utility successfully operates independently.

We Work With International Donors and Lenders

ROCKBlue partners with international donors and lenders to ensure that their investments in urban water and sanitation utilities achieve optimal and lasting results. At the time that ROCKBlue begins collaborating with a utility, the utility may have multiple donors or lenders, including aid organizations or government-sponsored lending institutions.

These organizations provide money to the utilities in hopes of making a financial return on their investment over the projected timeline of the investment. Often, these organizations are not satisfied with the returns (minimal to none) produced by their investment in the utility. As an independent third party, ROCKBlue can effectively collaborate with all parties to create a beneficial and durable solution to provide the donors and lenders with the assurance needed for existing and even continued investments.

This funding is critical for the utilities to be able to expand distribution networks, improve service reliability and conduct routine maintenance. While utilities receive money from the national government, this funding is often not sufficient to cover the rapid population growth of expanding cities and the maintenance it requires.

ROCKBlue as a service provider

As a “service provider”, ROCKBlue offers management expertise, in 21 categories, to our partner utilities to achieve greater efficiencies and increased capabilities in utility operations and maintenance. Utility management is sometimes unfairly expected to know all areas of operations. When and where there are gaps in a utility’s capabilities, ROCKBlue has the expertise to ensure they are filled; and that in the future those gaps no longer exist.

ROCKBlue's engagement with a utility may vary from ad hoc input from one expert to a more intensive commitment of onsite support. The level of engagement depends on the needs and wishes of the utility at any given time. The relationship will continue until the utility has become self-reliant.

ROCKBlue as a connector

ROCKBlue connects urban water and sanitation utilities with

  • (1) donors
  • (2) lenders, and
  • (3) private sector organizations.
We leverage our team members’ international reputations, contacts and experiences to provide these connections, which are indispensable to a utility’s management team as they work to overcome challenges.


The ROCKS acronym defines the principles of durability for initiatives and investments. Blue is a reference to the water and sanitation sector in which we work. These principles are applied in everything we do with utilities. Applying ROCKS requires ensuring:


Access to resources, such as competent employees, is essential to the durability of initiatives such as water and sanitation utilities. For example, well-managed human resources result in engaged employees and a lower employee turnover rate. This in turn, creates greater continuity for the utility and thus durability. Other examples of resources are equipment and available finances.


Ensuring that those individuals and organizations that are required to make a project or program durable have:

  1. fully accepted ownership of their responsibilities,
  2. have the resources and authority necessary to be held accountable, and
  3. have mechanisms in place to hold them accountable.

Cultural Connection

Projects and programs should either work with existing cultural norms and practices or invest sufficiently in appropriated methods if they must work counter to existing cultural norms.


Educate the utility team such that key employees have adequate knowledge and capacity to address the current and future needs of the organization.

Secondary backup systems(s)

Provide a backup system to ensure that if the original plans for available resources, ownership, cultural connections, and knowledge fail, there are secondary backup procedures in place, which have been planned for and approved. These will automatically be put into place should the primary plans fail.