Water is a vital resource for life, but less than 0.1% of water on the Earth is fresh and accessible. Populations increase, economies grow, and urbanization continues, yet water supply has not kept pace. A full 650 million people lack clean drinking water and 1 billion practice open defecation. Resulting illnesses lead to loss in income and missed opportunities, especially for girls and women. By 2030, water demand will outstrip supply by 40% globally as industry, agriculture, and consumers compete for this valuable resource.

Dalberg works with governments, NGOs, businesses, and foundations to develop solutions that address the infrastructural, behavioral, and policy roots of complex, water-related problems. We enable our clients to plan, develop, distribute, and manage freshwater resources effectively to protect the lives and potential of people and our environment.


 We work with clients to:

  • Upgrade the global architecture for water resource management. We help clients articulate their strategies, coordinate with global, country, and industry partners, and build institutions and programs that effectively allocate scarce water resources across sectors and borders. We have helped clients create frameworks to effectively manage the entire water lifecycle, from groundwater to tap. We assess water availability, consumption, transportation, treatment, and recycling in order to create viable business models, financing, and policies for water management.

  • Create new business models. We help clients develop and refine decentralized and disruptive business models tailored to the needs of un-served and often migrating populations in rural and urban areas. In support of these models, we’ve established partnerships between government agencies and private businesses and investors to design and run water-related interventions.

  • Identify profitable investment approaches. We identify niche investment opportunities in the $500 billion water market for investors and new entrants, based on analyses of financing needs, scalability, and how closely funds correlate to outcomes. We also work to develop investment vehicles for bilateral and multilateral institutions, including social impact bonds, grants, guarantees, and microfinance opportunities.

  • Map user profiles and design behavior change programs. We combine qualitative research with human-centered design methods and quantitative research to develop a deep understanding of user needs, behaviors, and attitudes. Through workshops, prototypes, and iterative testing, our research informs strategy development, evaluation, and management for sanitation behavior change programs and advocacy campaigns.

  • Evaluate existing programs to adjust strategies. We conduct evaluations and reviews for major water programs and organizations in urban and rural areas. Our findings directly inform how clients adjust their programs to meet strategic objectives and the water needs of beneficiaries.


Client Success:

Partnership for Cleaner Textiles Bangladesh 

Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector ranks third largest in the world, bringing in 80% of the country’s export profits. However, poor use of resources is threatening the sector’s sustainability, not to mention the well-being of local communities. Water use in the Bangladeshi textile and apparel industry is three times the regional average and six times the global best practice.

In January 2013, IFC and Solidaridad launched the Bangladesh Water Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT), where buyers, factories, financial institutions, governments, and local communities work together to reduce the environmental footprint of the textile and apparel industry. PaCT asked Dalberg to carry out a mid-term evaluation of its programming and identify actionable recommendations to refine its strategy.

Our Approach

Over 8 weeks, we carried out a strategic assessment of the PaCT program. The team evaluated PaCT against a variety of criteria including: relevance of the partnership to each participant and their beneficiaries, added impact of the program compared to a baseline and in line with PaCT objectives, how efficiently the program uses its resources, and sustainability of the program over the long-term.

In order to carry out the assessment with a full understanding of the incentives, strengths, and challenges of all those involved, we conducted over 50 key stakeholders across the PaCT team, as well as with factories, apparel buyers, textile factories, and Bangladeshi government representatives.


Based on the assessment, Dalberg proposed 10 tangible interventions that ranged from strategic (for example, refining the segmentation of textile factories in Bangladesh and the selection of PaCT beneficiaries) to operational (creating stronger feedback loops with factories benefiting from the program and modifying budget allocations). Our roadmap for organizational transformation and implementation was accepted in full, and PaCT is now in the process of adopting the recommendations to better continue its work of transforming Bangladesh’s textile and apparel sector and the water footprint of the industry.

To learn more about our Water and Sanitation work, see our insights or contact:

Nirat Bhatnagar, Delhi


Photo credit: NYU Stern BHR