A 3-month successful mission on Management Information between VEI Dutch Water Operators & Mandalay City Development Committee took place in November as part of WaterWorX program

The Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) has opened the calls for events and exhibition space.

This session of the Forum will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 8 – 13 February 2020 and it is expected to attract over 20,000 local and international delegates.

The theme of session is Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation.

Organized and convened by UN-Habitat, the World Urban Forum is the premier international gathering on urbanization and human settlements. As a non-legislative forum open to all, it provides the opportunity for thousands of participants involved in all aspects of urbanization to share practices and knowledge on how cities are built, planned and managed.

UN-Habitat invites governments, subnational governments, non-governmental organizations, United Nations entities, international organizations, private sector, academia and other stakeholders to present and display innovative projects and products, establish connections and look at how we can reshape the future of our cities and communities.

Please visit the links below for further information on Networking, Side and Training events and exhibition space applications:

- Networking events: https://wuf.unhabitat.org/page/networking-events (Deadline 14 October)

- Side events: https://wuf.unhabitat.org/page/side-events (Deadline 14 October)

- Training events: https://wuf.unhabitat.org/page/training-events (Deadline 14 October)

- Exhibition: https://wuf.unhabitat.org/page/expo (Deadline 15 November 2019)


  • Wednesday 28 August from 12:00 to 12:45pm at room L7
  • The session is open to all participants and no fees are needed

From 13 to 15 August, Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) hosts in Medellin, Colombia, the workshop “Circular Economy for Water and Sanitation Operators in the Latin America and the Caribbean region”. This workshop will be a space to share knowledge and successful experiences on water and water companies move towards sustainable management of water resources.

The main theme, circular economy, raises the maximization of available resources so that they remain most of the time in the productive cycle, minimizing the generation of waste, revaluing them and taking advantage of them in a sustainable way.

This meeting will have representatives of government entities and other partners such as Euroclima+ from the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Commission for the Regulation of Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation (CRA), Andesco, Acodal, Corantioquia, Cornare, Corpourabá, Government of Antioquia, Municipality of Medellin and the Metropolitan Area of Aburrá.

During the three days’ workshop, participants will address issues such as the control of losses in the aqueduct, energy efficiency and energy generation from unconventional sources, biosolids management and water reuse. In addition, they will be able to know Aguas Claras, the new EPM wastewater treatment plant in the Aburrá Valley, which is considered an example of applied circular economy, by generating energy from biogas and producing biosolids based on the management of the organic matter that enters the plant.

Aligning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Aligned with the SDGs target on achieving universal access to sanitation and to reduce the wastewater treatment gap by half by 2030, this workshop will allow operators to advance in the implementation of technologies for the reuse of these types of water, as well as in the extraction of energy, nutrients and by-products with added value.

Jointly organized by the Network of Sister Enterprises of Latin America and the Caribbean (WOP-LAC) within the framework of the Latin American Association of Water and Sanitation Operators (ALOAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Global Water Operators Partnerships’ Alliance (GWOPA)/UN-Habitat and EPM, the workshop will address challenges related to a more efficient use of available resources in the productive cycle of water supply and wastewater management.

Circular Economy

Circular economy is not a new concept. Since the 1970s, this approach has been proposing the challenge of generating zero waste in production processes. The circular economy abandons the “take, produce and discard” model, typical of an era in which the world considered resources to be unlimited and easy to achieve, and aims to ensure that products, components and resources maintain their usefulness and value permanently.

From this conception, the application of the circular economy in the water and sanitation sector poses, among others, the challenge of gradually converting the current wastewater treatment plants into resource recovery facilities.

Coordinated by the company Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A. (AySA), within the framework of the Latin American Association of Water Operators, WOP-LAC is the regional platform for Latin America that integrates the global alliance of the GWOPA, a United Nations initiative that aims encourage the exchange of successful experiences between water and sanitation operators.

The WOP-LAC workshops, together with the twinning between operators (WOPs), constitute the main lines of action of the platform. These meetings, which are usually attended by representatives of about 20 to 25 operators of various characteristics (large and medium-sized companies, community water boards, cooperatives), from different countries of the region, give rise to the presentation of successful experiences and the knowledge expansion Operators who have had achievements in relation to the theme of the workshop can share them, and those who need to incorporate good practices in the field have the opportunity to see what they do and how their peers are working.

Thursday, 08 August 2019 12:03

Resilient Water Supply in the Mekong Delta

Increased salinity of ground and surface water in the Mekong delta puts public water supply at risk. The water supply companies in the Mekong Delta currently rely on both ground- and surface water resources. Groundwater extraction contributes to the process of land subsidence, while land subsidence in turn causes salinity levels in both surface and groundwater to increase. The sources are also threatened by high levels of pollution, caused by domestic, industrial and agricultural wastewater.

To ensure water supply to the people living in the Mekong Delta in the future, VEI supports the water supply companies of Hau Giang, Soc Trang and Can Tho in developing long-term resilient water supply plans in which the sustainability of various water resources will explored and the effects of the various options on the current treatment, transmission and distribution schemes investigated. In this way, the project supports the water supply companies to prepare for and absorb future implementation of (sub)regional supply schemes.

In June, together with Can Tho University, VEI organized the first out of three workshops related to long-term resilient water supply plans. The first workshop aimed at creating a sense of urgency of the need to develop these long term plans. The latest findings were presented and discussed, related to the hydrology of the delta, land subsidence, salinization and water demand. The last two weeks, three experts from three different Dutch water operators were in the Mekong Delta to work together with the water supply companies in the Mekong Delta, and prepare the outline of the long-term resilient water supply plan, conduct a water resources analysis and an asset management analysis. At the end of November, a second workshop will be organized, ‘Impacts on Water Supply Regimes’ and early 2020 a third, ‘Exploring interventions and adaptation strategies’. All this leading to four Climate Resilient Water Supply Plans and Climate Resilient Investment Plans.

Project area

Mapes min


The sinking Mekong Delta



Background information

The project aims to support the water companies in the Mekong Delta in delivering sustainable and resilient water supply services in the context of climate change. Phase 1 of the project runs from 2018-2021 and focuses on developing climate robust investment planning, organisational improvement of the utilities, and network extensions. To overcome challenges such as saline intrusion and soil subsidence, a regional approach for upgrading, expansion and modification of supply schemes is believed to be necessary. The phasing of the program matches with the World Bank financed ‘Mekong Delta Regional Water Security Project’ (MRWSP) in which finance for infrastructure development in the Mekong delta becomes available. The long term involvement of the WaterWorX programme is well suited to support the utilities absorbing the investments made by the MRWSP.

In phase 1, the project targets the water companies in the provinces of Hau Giang, Soc Trang and Can Tho. Depending on the investment planning and needs for technical assistance, other utilities in the Mekong Delta may also join the partnership in phase 2 and 3. The project team will therefore have regular contact with the non partnering water companies, the Ministry of Construction and the World Bank.

Can Tho University – Department of Climate Change is also involved in this partnership, specifically to generate and disseminate understanding about the effects of climate change on the operations of the utilities, and the capacity building and training of staff in climate related subjects.

WaterWorX is a flagship program that brings together 10 Dutch water utilities and 24 (or more) water operators in developing countries to provide 10 million people with sustainable access to clean drinking water through WOPs. Supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), this programme enables Dutch and local water experts to collaborate in WOP projects, across Asia, Africa and Latin America, over the coming 14 years. WaterWorX aims to increase sustainable access to drinking water to 10 million people, by: 1. Strengthening the financial, technical and social sustainability of the local partner water companies in order to make sustainable drinking water available to millions of people in developing and transition countries. 2. Strengthening the enabling environment of laws & regulations, financing and policies in which water companies are encouraged to function properly and enhance their performance. 3. Increasing access to water infrastructure investment finance, by developing investment proposals and engaging with domestic and international financing organisations and banks. 

IHE Delft is organizing its 6th session of the international symposium on knowledge and capacity development for the water sector on May 27-29, 2020, in cooperation with the Global Water Operator Partnership Alliance (GWOPA) and other partners.

The symposium will bring together scholars, decision-makers and practitioners to discuss the current and future role of capacity development and take a forward-looking and action-orientated approach.

By bringing together key stakeholders to consider the most pressing challenges and emerging solutions in the field, the Symposium aims to identify and improve upon the concepts, priorities, strategies and tools to develop institutional capacity and share knowledge at a global scale for addressing these challenges. The Symposium will also help outline the core skills, knowledge and attitudes the world’s water professionals and the institutions will need, and to build clear commitment to identify and act on concrete multi-stakeholder actions.

Call for abstracts

The Symposium provides a unique opportunity to present to an international, interdisciplinary and cross-sector delegation of water professionals, policy and decision makers, water users, development practitioners, researchers knowledge managers, educators and other capacity development specialists.

In addition to submissions by scientists and academics, submissions from practitioners, professionals and policy makers are especially encouraged to discuss the effectiveness and efficiency of capacity development in the water domain. Papers reporting original findings resulting from case studies and from rigorous analytical studies are particularly welcome.

Abstracts (400-500 words) must be submitted by 14 November 2019. Abstracts must provide a clear overview of the purpose and goal of the study/analysis/review, a description of the methodology, a short but meaningful discussion of key results with conclusions, and their relevance for the sector.

Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their abstract by 12 December 2019. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to provide either a full paper (4,000-10,000 words) by 29 February 2020, or a complete description for a poster.

They will be notified regarding the acceptance of their paper for presentation by 27 March 2020. After the Symposium, a final peer review will select updated papers for publication. Registration for the Symposium will open in December 2019.

For more information, visit the website: capdevsymposium.un-ihe.org


Around 12 million Guatemalans, equal to 75% of the country´s population, have access to drinking water thanks to the local water committees. One of these local committees is the Asociación de Desarrollo Comunitario Rural (ADECOR) that brings together nine water and sanitation utilities in the Municipality of San Martin Jiloteqeque on a non-profit basis.

Since its foundation, ADECOR aims to improve water and sanitation infrastructure for the indigenous people of the area - natives of the Mayan ethnic group Kaqchikel which is one of the poorest rural areas of Guatemala, affected by war and natural disasters. This branch of the descendants of a Mayan tribe faces many difficulties related to drinking and sanitation services.

ADECOR, which serves an estimated amount of 6,000-10,000 inhabitants of the Department of Chimaltenango, is trying to change this situation. As a member of GWOPA, they established close contact with Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Servicios Sanitarios de Chile (FESAN) - a non-profit cooperative federation, which helps water operators in Chile and other Latin American countries to strengthen their capacities. The Chilean experience in managing drinking water services in rural areas has become a successful management model on the basis of a Water Operator Partnership (WOP) between ADECOR and FESAN.

This WOP was developed under the umbrella of WOP-LAC, regional platform of GWOPA in Latin America and the Caribbean, and financed by the Inter-American Development Bank. The contribution to the compliance of SDG6 laid the foundation for its main goals. More concretely, this partnership aimed to expand inclusive and sustainable access to safe drinking water for people living in rural areas in Guatemala, to support women in conditions of extreme poverty, and to increase female participation in the sphere of water.

To achieve this, both water professionals and local leaders were invited to participate in the WOP. During the first stage they identified common concerns, such as limited access to water, bad functionality of water supply and sanitation systems, as well as water related environmental problems (felling of trees, erosion and fires), and agreed that regional water systems should be improved.

In the framework of the second WOP stage, ADECOR representatives together with community leaders participated in a training where specialists from FESAN shared their rich experience about technical and administrative capacity building, tariff calculation, and other core issues serving to strengthen community water management with peers from Guatemala. As a result, the delegation of the Municipality of San Martin Jiloteqeque decided to establish independent self-sustainable quality drinking water service, relevant to the culture and identity of the Kaqchikel ethnic group. This WOP would enable indigenous populations to get access both to water and sanitation services, improving its health and well-being.

The final phase of the WOP in San Martin Jilotepeque focused on enabling local professionals and on leadership promotion which led to female empowerment. Overall, 50 women and men from Mayas indigenous communities learned the ways of building a sustainable management model for rural drinking water systems, which allowed them to expand career opportunities.

As a result of this WOP, a local community implemented its structure as a social enterprise with Statutes and Regulations, and all rural water operators of the district of San Martín Jilotepeque got acquainted with a sustainable water management model. In the near future about 5,000 people more of Kaqchikel ethnic group will receive this service as well.

This WOP model proved itself effective and helped the indigenous population of Guatemala to improve the quality of life and increase the level of social integration with a very cost-effective investment of only approximately $10 per person.


This coming Friday, 12 July, as part of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), together with the Permanent Mission of Tajikistan, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and the support of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will hold the side event Delivering Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Current Climate Change Scenario – Innovative Responses from South-South Cooperation and Water Operators' Partnerships.

Enhanced international cooperation is crucial for mitigating and adapting to climate change, and South-South cooperation is gaining momentum as a meaningful approach to addressing this global challenge.  Most Water Operators' Partnerships' (WOPs) are South-South and many are helping utilities address climate change by helping utilities build sustainable capacity to reduce water losses, implement water safety plans, apply efficient and circular technologies, or develop inclusive pro-poor strategies. As the global climate reality becomes more extreme, a growing number of operators championing good climate change mitigation and adaptation practices, are highly motivated to share their expertise and innovation with others on a not-for-profit basis.

The event will take place at the UN Secretariat (Conference Room 6)See the last version of the programme), United Nations Headquarters, New York on Friday the 12th July 2019 from 15:00 - 16:30h. 


The year 2017 was one of the three warmest on record and was 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. An analysis by the World Meteorological Organization shows that the five-year average global temperature from 2013 to 2017 was also the highest on record. The world continues to experience rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions (the North Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest ever recorded) and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. This calls for urgent and accelerated action by countries as they implement their commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.” – World Meteorological Organization

"As we face the spectre of growing unilateralism, protectionism and isolationism, it is increasingly vital that we empower partnerships for sustainable development. In this context, the efforts of the global South are gaining traction."UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

The deregulation of the global climate is affecting the lives of people everywhere, but those in the Global South are particularly vulnerable, due to both their heightened exposure to climate perturbations and generally lower levels of resilience. 

Climate change makes itself felt mostly through the water cycle, and water and sanitation utilities are already experiencing its effects. Strong water and sanitation utilities are essential to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal on water (SDG 6), itself a prerequisite for achieving most other SDGs. Yet many utilities, already struggling with weak operational and management approaches, inadequate resources and deteriorating infrastructure, are poorly prepared to adapt to a widening scope of challenges, such as floods that wash away significant parts of their networks or severe droughts that deplete water resources resulting in extreme water supply shortages. 

For water and sanitation utilities, a deregulated climate is making water supplies less steady and predictable, and the normalization of droughts and other “extreme” events are exposing them more frequently to the risks of infrastructural damage and service cuts. Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to increase with climate change as over 1.7 billion people currently live in river basins where water use exceeds recharge. As steady safe water supply is a pillar of resilience, the ability for utilities to maintain safe supplies is also key to communities withstanding and bouncing back from all types of potential adversity. 

Caribbean islanders, for example, live a harrowing climate duality. On the one hand, hurricanes in the region are notoriously ferocious. In August 2015, just days after a Caribbean operators’ training on strengthening resiliency to climate change, Hurricane Erika tragically took 20 lives on the island of Dominica. On the other hand, there are longer stretches of drought between rains, leaving crops thirsty and water utilities with diminishing supply. While receiving an unfair share of the impact of climate change, southern water and sanitation utilities also continue to contribute unduly to the GHG emissions that are the cause of this new climate crisis. High losses and water networks that rely on pumping heavy water resources across long distances mean that inefficiency in water utilities in the south are only worsening the problem. That’s the bad news. 

The good news is that solutions such as groundwater recharge, wastewater treatment and reuse, watershed rehabilitation, rainwater harvesting, desalination, and reduction of non-revenue water, are increasingly discussed at the highest levels of management within the region’s water utilities. On the mitigation side, energy efficiency, transition to renewable sources and even energy generation in water utilities is growing. What’s more, learning is accelerating, twinning partnership relationships are being forged among utilities and in some cases, climate change mitigation and adaption funds offer new sources of financing for green and grey infrastructure. With threats mounting to water operations and sources, time is short to find solutions, but learning and experimentation is well underway.

The event will give some examples of utility-led water and climate innovations in the developing south and showcase partnerships that are helping to share these approaches.

Monday, 08 July 2019 12:17

Hosting Call for the GWOPA Secretariat

Today, strong local water and sanitation utilities are more important than ever. Recognizing the continued importance of the Water Operators Partnerships practice, UN-Habitat is pleased to open a hosting call for it's GWOPA Secretariat, to continue refining and scaling up the approach to help more local water and sanitation service providers deliver sustainable services to all globally.

The opportunity to host UN-Habitat's GWOPA for a 5 year period arises upon the expiry of the current hosting agreement with Barcelona, Spain where the GWOPA Secretariat has been based since 2013, thanks to the financial support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

The Secretariat is focused on strengthening public water utilities around the world and enhancing collaboration between them. As a global convener, GWOPA brings diverse water and urban stakeholders including governments at local, regional and national levels, financial partners, development organizations, private utilities, civil society and labour unions together around the same table.

The hosting call is open to any United Nations Member State or public entity endorsed by its national government.

For further information, please see the hosting call.


At the Annual Conference of the German Water Partnership (GWP) in Berlin last month, GWP’s Operation and Capacity Development working group, together with German Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), presented a new initiative that would help Germany’s many public water and wastewater utilities to overcome a longstanding barrier to their participation in WOPs.

While utilities in other European countries have become increasingly involved in supporting their peer utilities in developing countries, German utilities have been limited from doing so, they are legally not allowed to spend any local revenues funds from their customers outside of their service area. Whereas other countries’ utilities are able to offer staff time to help their peers overseas in-kind, or recover it through so-called “1%” laws, such as exist in France or the Netherlands, German utilities are hindered from doing so by law

However, the statutes of most public utilities in Germany allow them to support peer utilities abroad if the financial expenses are fully covered. BMZ has announced to fund these partnerships by having their costs recovered by BMZ. The Ministry has agreed to open 3-year pilot project for 4 WOPs which starts by end of this year. A model for the German WOPs has been developed by GWP in the last years and is called Sustainable Utility Partnerships (SUP), see more information here.

Because many public utilities in Germany lack international experiences and tend to be small, there will be a bigger lead partner utility in charge for one partnership project and additional staff will be drawn from up to several utilities for each partnership with a southern counterpart. The lead partner coordinates the whole administrative and managerial aspects towards the donor, the smaller German utilities and the mentee utility.

The hope is to build more long-term collaboration for Water Operators Partnerships in the long run.

The pilot project aligns with Germany’s water sector policies and will probably focus in priority countries – Jordan, Ukraine, Morocco and Zambia. Over the coming months, a number of “matchmaking” events will be held to pair up mentee utilities in these countries with interested mentors from Germany.

German GIZ and SKEW will facilitate the initiative logistics, however the organizers insisted that the utilities should sit in the leading seat of the partnerships.

GWOPA welcomed Germany as a strong new partner in the global WOPs community and offered its support in showcasing the Germans’ experience through its global platform.


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