Water and Sanitation Management in Cuenca: How Ecuador's Third Largest City Employs Strategic Partnerships and Local Ownership to Deliver Services to its Booming Population

Client: Inter-American Development Bank
Faculty: Natasha Iskander
Team: Sara Brown, Alexandra Koerte, Abby Miller
Year: 2009
The purpose of this Capstone project was to create a case study on water and sanitation development in Cuenca Ecuador, based on loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the Cuencan water utility company called ETAPA. To evaluate these interventions, interviews were conducted with IDB staff in Washington, DC and Quito, Ecuador. The Cuenca research included interviews with ETAPA engineers and managers, interviews with government officials, locals in urban and rural areas, and a review of available documents. This case highlights the major accomplishments that ETAPA has made in managing its environment, building its infrastructure, and strengthening its business model as a result of the investments financed by the IDB. ETAPA has been able to achieve much by building local capacity and ownership and by forming strategic partnerships, and as the city's population continues to grow in the coming decades, the local capacity and partnerships will help shape the continued success of the city's water system.