There is a need in South Africa for institutional innovations aimed at increasing the coverage and reliability of water services, and sustaining those services. The paper describes an alternative service delivery institutional concept, viz the franchising of the operation and maintenance of water services, and outlines the need to formulate a franchise model that could be developed and made available to emerging entrepreneurs as the basis of a viable business. The franchise would be in respect of components of the water services value chain that are suitable for small business in that they can be readily systematised.

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