The Digital Journey of Water and Sanitation Utilities in Latin America and The Caribbean: What is at Stake and How to Begin
Marcello Basani, Xoán Fernández
This discussion paper provides a foundation for digital transformation of water and sanitation utilities and illustrates how emerging technologies, new types of organizations, and forms of working can improve service performance and address issues related to water and wastewater management, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. It also explores the fundamental dimensions of digital transformation of organizations, beyond technology, highlighting the importance of the human side of things, as well as operational impacts associated with data profusion, systems integration and interconnectivity. Finally, it shows examples of how decision-making has evolved for some front-runners, from planned and reactive operations to proactive and data-driven utilities. It aims to answer the following questions: What does digital transformation mean for the Water and Sanitation sector? What lessons can be learned from peers around the world? What are the learning points for the LAC region, considering the specific local context and its priorities? The authors also want to offer some tangible illustrations and actionable insights for professionals, wherever their organizations stand along the journey to a fully digital, connected, and data-driven company. The target audience is anyone interested in this sector, with a special focus on key actors in the ecosystem (such as regulators as well as practitioners). The goal of this paper is to raise awareness among people from water and sanitation utilities and, most importantly, provide them with insights to get started with their digital journey.