Semi-structured interviews with 47 key actors were conducted in Swedish water utilities on why Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) are or are not used. Important influencing aspects identified included organizational inertia, social capital, the national water sector and authorities. Divergent views of SD and indicators appear to hinder SDI initiatives. Possible explanations are that: (a) not all actors look at decision-making as the kind of rational process the focus on indicators implies, and (b), Swedish urban water systems are widely regarded as sustainable. The water sector itself and regulation are identified as the strongest potential drivers for increased use of SDIs.