Advice on Water from Economic Consulting Associates


ECA works extensively in the water sector, assisting in institutional development and regulatory framework development for water and wastewater service provision.

Our services in the water sector include pricing, resource management and allocation, investment planning and institutional design. We have advised river authorities, governments and water regulators in Europe, Africa and Asia.

We also provide capacity building and training courses to strengthen our client’s capabilities across all economic and regulatory issues in the sector.

In addition to these services our water experts are experienced in the links to sanitation and hygiene advising on suitable business models, regulatory frameworks and tariff setting in the sanitation and wastewater sectors.

Our focus areas include:

  • Water tariffs and allowed revenues
  • Regulatory support on price controls
  • Infrastructure planning
  • Water and sanitation institutional frameworks
  • Sector reforms and restructuring

For more information please contact our practice lead Andrew Tipping.



Ofwat regulatory support

ECA staff were seconded to Ofwat during its PR19 price control to support two specific areas: the development of a financial incentive for England and Wales water companies to improve customer service, and the analysis of sector-wide company performance as part of the compilation of the industry Service Delivery Report.

Worldwide analysis of water and sanitation tariffs

ECA drafted 15 discussion papers on water supply and sanitation (WSS) tariffs for the World Bank’s water sector specialists. The papers provide detailed guidance to advisors and policymakers on pricing WSS services to best attain the often-competing goals of the sector, covering all common types of continuous service provision within each sub-sector (eg, urban, peri-urban, and rural; networked and non-networked).

Options for scaling up non-utility/non-piped water services

ECA worked with the World Bank to deepen its understanding of viable models for providing non-utility/non-piped water services to urban areas of cities in developing countries across the world. The assignment examined the roles of technological innovations and responsive, balanced regulatory frameworks, while also drawing parallels from energy and other comparable sectors.

Water company cost of capital and financial performance analysis, UK

ECA has provided advice to the Consumer Council for Water over several years on two topics related to water company performance and pricing. The first has addressed the appropriate weighted average cost of capital for the water companies, in planning for Ofwat’s PR14 and PR19 5-year regulatory periods. The second has been the development of a series of metrics and annual database to assess company performance, benchmarking against regulatory allowances.

Water and wastewater tariffs, Saudi Arabia

ECA and PWC undertook a major study to propose a new regulatory framework and new tariffs for water/sewerage services to the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority. ECA’s inputs included preparing a new incentive-based regulatory framework, modelling costs and flows across multiple sector entities and value chains, calculating a revenue requirement for the next four years, recommending changes to the design of tariffs, preparing new tariff schedules for stakeholder feedback, and conducting impact and affordability analysis.

Cubango-Okavango River Basin investment opportunity analysis

Building on past studies for the basin organisation OKACOM, this study sought to determine a pathway to meet the national development needs and poverty reduction objectives of the member states (Angola, Namibia and Botswana), without compromising the ecosystem services of the basin and diminishing the global value of the Okavango Delta. The study involved developing integrated economic, hydrological and environmental modelling and working with stakeholders to strengthen regional cooperation in the basin.

Restructuring water-wastewater tariffs, Lebanon

ECA assisted Oxfam in Lebanon in the development of a framework for introducing consumption-based water and wastewater tariffs. Recommendations were based on case studies from national, regional, and global experience in strategies towards water tariff restructuring.

Regional water supply and PPP framework for Indonesia

Following the successful completion of ECA’s previous work in Indonesia, resulting in the implementation of National Urban Water Supply (NUWAS) framework, we were asked to assist the World Bank Team Jakarta to design a regional water supply and PPP framework. The regional water supply frameworks developed under this assignment aim to provide a streamlined and consistent approach and associated tools for the development of Indonesia’s regional water supply scheme.

Strengthening public finances in urban sanitation, Mozambique

ECA supported Aguaconsult and WSUP of the UK in a review of the pricing for sanitation services provided by municipalities in Mozambique. Following a review of the existing model, ECA developed a new model that was more fit for purpose, and provided support to the handover and training of personnel from CRA, the water and sanitation regulator in Mozambique.

Establishment of autonomous regulator for urban water and sewerage services, Uganda

This project objective was to establish an autonomous urban water regulator for Uganda, to ensure that water supply is both financially sustainable and affordable for consumers through setting appropriate tariff structures and other regulatory mechanisms. ECA reviewed the current water sector regulatory framework, comparable frameworks from other countries, prepared a business plan and financing strategy, and drafted the required legal frameworks for establishing the regulator.

Water and wastewater cost of service and tariff study in Lesotho

ECA, in collaboration with JG Afrika, led a comprehensive cost of service and tariff study for the provision of water and wastewater services of the water utility WASCO. The study was to advise on the preparation of the annual tariff proposal to better reflect WASCO revenue requirements, improve the fairness in the allocation of its cost-of-service among customer classes, and account for future investment needs.

Global study on institutions, policies and regulatory incentives to improve WSS services

ECA conducted a global study to find out what policies, institutions and regulatory (PIR) incentives have been used in practice and how these can be combined to further improve water supply and sanitation (WSS) services. The study involved a literature review of existing theories on IPR incentives, development of case studies to illustrate findings, and development of a framework that can be used to design appropriate IPR incentives to improve WSS services. The result of this study has been published and can be seen on this link: STUDY

National urban water supply project for Indonesia

ECA has worked with the World Bank Jakarta office since 2012 to help develop a national framework that will assist the Government of Indonesia in improving urban water service provisions, through efficient allocation of available sources of finance for the sector to appropriate investment, or service improvement project. Our team designed the incentive-based framework, a system water companies (PDAMs) can access funding only when they continuously improve performance. The national framework was approved by the Government in 2017 and its implementation started in 2018.

Onsite sanitation service delivery model and business plan, Zambia

The Sanitation Corporation (LWSC) wanted to develop a business plan for onsite sanitation services and faecal sludge management (FSM). ECA led the political economy assessment, conducted financial analysis and developed a financial model for different types of FSM business models, plus contributed to the market design and recommendation of FSM business model and to the development of the FSM business plan for LWSC.