Introduction Improving access to potable water and sanitation is recognised as one of the key challenges of our time. Still, success continues to be limited (WHO/UNICEF 2010). The reasons for this are manifold and include issues such as precarious land tenure, rapid urbanisation, poorly-funded utilities, weak institutions, and inequality (Budds and McGranahan 2003). However, important challenges also stem from contradictions between uniform infrastructure networks, derived from experiences in the North, and diverse realities in the South (Jaglin and Zérah 2010). Instead of privileging a single universal infrastructure network, greater attention is now given to hybrid and disaggregated systems. In the North, where the “modern infrastructure ideal” of universal and uniform coverage was largely met (Graham and Marvin 2001), mounting pressures on the environment and utility capacity have encouraged the adoption of alternative infrastructure confi gurations (Coutard 2010). In the South, water supply has long involved multiple systems in varying degrees of coexistence. What remains controversial is whether to ignore what is external to the piped network, to regulate it, or to subsume it under the management of a single water provider (Jaglin 2004).