Phase 2

Step 2.05 , Design Studies


Design studies are undertaken to strengthen the technical, scientific, financial, and/or political basis on which decisions are being made.    

Key Ideas

Design studies may be undertaken for a range of purposes and may extend beyond the Design Phase. Learn more below.

  • Design studies help build the technical case and evidence-base underlying the Water Fund

    Design studies are a critical step in the development process that guides the refinement and/or establishment of measurable goals for a water fund. These results of these studies directly inform decision-making and help build the underlying technical case and evidence-base that supports the overall strategy that is outlined in the Water Fund Strategic Plan (e.g. types of interventions implemented, conservation targets, expected outcomes, etc.).
  • Design studies help inform design-making processes

    Whether it pertains to a financial, technical, or social aspect of the Water Fund's scope of work, design studies will likely help to reduce uncertainties. See below for examples.
  • Design studies should be selected and scoped based on the priorities of the Strategic Plan

    Design studies should be selected and scoped appropriately based on how they help achieve the Water Fund’s Theory of Change. For instance, if the first 5-year Strategic Plan’s focus is to establish credibility within the region and conducting an exhaustive technical study on infiltration rates will not help achieve related 5-year goals, it may not be a priority among the limited resources available. However, if this factor becomes critical for establishing the scalability of specific interventions, it may be necessary to complete it sooner. Investing early in other long-term factors such as the importance of an environmental baseline for measuring progress should not be overlooked. Given its importance, monitoring and evaluation is covered in a standalone, subsequent section.

Examples of how design studies help inform decision-making processes

  1. Portfolio of Interventions

    Evaluate the range of possible interventions and combinations over space and time to help determine the optimum mix of the portfolio (e.g. effectiveness and cost; combinations may be a mix of built and natural infrastructure interventions; etc.). See the Portfolio of Interventions section to learn more.

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  2. Social Impact Assessment

    Evaluate the impacts of a potential Water Fund project on specific communities who reside in the project area to help determine positive and negative social impacts. See the Social Impact Assessment section to learn more.

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  3. Business Case

    Conduct a business case analysis to evaluate anticipated impacts with or without the proposed interventions to help inform the team on who might be a prospective investor. See the Business Case section to learn more.

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  4. Long-Term Finance

    Developing a Trust Fund to mitigate cash flow risks and/or conducting research into different long-term financial mechanisms that could support the identified Water Fund interventions and operations.

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  5. Influencing Policy

    Conduct an institutional mapping study to determine how best to position the Water Fund in terms of effectively influencing public policy.