Achieving universal access to clean water & sanitation through investment
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’ aims to achieve universal accessibility by both location and cost of water and sanitation facilities and safe drinking water. It also addresses water quality by reducing pollution and maximising the efficiency of water treatment.
Water Unite Impact, through management by Wellers Impact, provides capital to selected SMEs in these sectors in the Global South to help fulfil the currently unmet demand for water production, clean water and the accessibility of these commodities. The domestic suffering due to a lack of clean water and sanitation has many negative social and environmental impacts including environmental contamination, water table contamination and the spread of diseases between people and their environment.
These impacts can be seen at a greater extent regionally, impacting other sectors and can even have fatal consequences. We aim to fill the funding gap of carefully selected and capable SMEs within the water and sanitation sectors for investments to create a positive impact within the Global South and ultimately benefit the domestic population.
Kenya is subjected to poor water sanitation and lacks the availability of water facilities, particularly in low-income areas, rural areas and across slums.
The intermittent water supply is further impacted by the natural regional and seasonal water scarcity. The water development and sanitation sector in Kenya must grow by at least 3% per year for 13 years to achieve targets set by the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB).
These targets include the development of sustainable water sources across six catchment areas and the accurate assessment and prediction of water source availability up to the year 2050 with consideration for the course of climate change (Ministry of Environment 2013).
SDG 6 also specifies in one of its aims that by 2030, water use-efficiency needs to be increased across all sectors to substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity which is a very achievable goal that faces a sizable financial barrier.
KShs. 29 billion (267 million USD) was invested in this sector in 2017 which is indicative of a severe investment gap as it was predicted that KShs. 72 billion (663 million USD) was required to meet the demand of the water production sector which Kenya currently faces (WASREB 2018).
By investing in SMEs that would otherwise lack the funds for handling large scale problems like water scarcity, we believe this challenge can be overcome.
Increasing water sanitation and availability needs to be prioritised across Africa. The sanitation problem can be confronted by improving the treatment of faecal sludge, as in 2015, open defecation was observed amongst 12% of the Kenyan population of rural areas due to a lack of sewerage facilities within these regions.
The current sewerage and water treatment systems run sub-optimally due to poor maintenance and the lack of connections to sewers. A previous unsustainable solution to this involves the creation of sewerage stabilisation ponds, in which industrial effluent and domestic waste are treated within the same pond.
However, this can damage the environment through the leaking of organic and inorganic waste material into the environment and the water table which has numerous social impacts including potential damage to the agricultural sector.
The efficient treatment of waste sludge needs to be prioritised in order to address this intricate issue and SDG 6 aims to eliminate open defecation by 2030.
Water Unite will address this problem by delivering the necessary capital to SMEs to increase the efficiency of current sewage treatment in Kenya. This service will provide positive environmental and social impacts domestically and will lessen the environmental impact regionally by reducing the vast quantity of waste that is likely to pollute the water table, thus preventing the eventual loss of water sources.
Furthermore, efficient sewage treatment will prevent the outbreak of interspecific diseases (that spread between the same species e.g. human to human or animal to animal) intraspecific diseases (that spread between different species e.g. animal to human or human to animal) which will lessen the stress on the healthcare sector which has to deal with malaria outbreaks amongst many other domestic diseases as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (Nderitu and Kamaara 2020).
A similar issue concerning the treatment of waste water can also be observed in South Africa in which quantities of available drinkable and potable water have decreased (Adewumi et al. 2010).
Furthermore, up to 37% of households are not connected to a water sewage system (Statistics South Africa 2018), which can have monumental negative social and environmental impacts which are similar to those described above - environmental pollution and disease outbreak which is directly caused by poor sanitation facilities or lack thereof.
In addressing this complex issue. Water Unite Impact aims to tackle this issue by providing a means to convert faecal sludge into organic fertiliser, therefore lessening the stress on the current sewerage system, eliminating pathogenic risk to water and delivering an environmentally and economically stable solution that meets the WHO standards. This directly contributes to SDG 6 and also provides benefits to other sectors, namely the agricultural sector.
By the combined powers of disciplined philanthropy and investment, we believe Sustainable Development Goal 6 is attainable and we can positively impact the lives of a multitude of people throughout the Global South to help end their suffering.
Wellers Impact is a UK-based, FCA-Regulated Impact Investment Manager which works to unlock community-focused impact through SDG-focused impact investing. Through innovative investment models that utilise fair economics, Wellers Impact originates investment opportunities across three core business activities; real estate developments in partnership with local land-owning not-for-profits in East Africa, financial support for agriculture firms and supply chains globally through sustainable development finance and direct investment into private water, sanitation and plastics recycling firms globally. Investment involves risk. Suitable for Sophisticated, Professional and High Net Worth Investors only.
Adewumi, J., Ilemobade, A. and Van Zyl, J., 2010. Treated wastewater reuse in South Africa: Overview, potential and challenges. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 55(2), pp.221-231.
Ministry of Environment 2013. The Development of the National Water Master Plan 2030. Executive Summary Report. [online] Japan International Cooperative Agency. Available at: https://wasreb.go.ke/downloads/National%20Water%20Master%20Plan%202030%20Exec.%20Summary%20Vol.%201%20Main%201.pdf
Nderitu, D., Kamaara, E. 2020. Gambling with COVID-19 Makes More Sense: Ethical and Practical Challenges in COVID-19 Responses in Communalistic Resource-Limited Africa. Bioethical Inquiry. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-020-10002-1
Statistics South Africa, 2017. General Household Survey. Statistics in South Africa.
WASREB, 2018. Annual Report And Financial Statements. [online] WASREB. Available at: https://wasreb.go.ke/downloads/WASREB%20AR%202017-2018.pdf
[Accessed 28 September 2020].