What We Do

What is the problem? Strained utilities and explosive urban population growth

Cities in the developing world are growing at astounding rates, putting immense pressure on existing services. Water supply and sanitation services to cities have historically been severely strained. This situation is intensified by the flood of people moving to cities looking for opportunities. For example, African urban areas currently contain 472 million people and will double over the next 25 years.

By 2020, almost 50 percent of Africa’s population will be reliant on water and sanitation services provided by urban utilities. The gap between reliable drinking water supply and growing demand in cities is only widening, and at an alarming level.

What are the challenges of living without sufficient water and sanitation services?

How would it impact your life it you had to spend two hours everyday collecting water, often of poor quality, for your household? How would it impact the health of your family if human waste was spilling out in the streets of your neighborhood? Poor water and sanitation services undermine local development and local businesses, amplifying challenges, for example, by women and girls who bear disproportionate responsibility for collecting household water.

It also increases the probability of contracting life-threatening waterborne diseases as a result of standing wastewater and unreliable drinking water sources.

Why do we focus on utilities

What do we do?

ROCKBlue aims to solve the growing gap between reliable water supply and accelerating urban demand. We are a nonprofit that leverages a large network of highly experienced specialists. ROCKBlue focuses on strengthening the ability of water and sanitation utilities to provide these services to the poorest in cities and towns across the developing world.

ROCKBlue accomplishes this mission through respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships with both public utilities in the developing world and with the international donors and lenders supporting these utilities.

How do we work 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.

In partnership 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.