OFID (the OPEC Fund for International Development) and GWOPA (the Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance) have entered, following a first collaboration for 10 African WOPs in 2013-2015, in a new Agreement to help five water and sanitation utilities in Africa and Asia, to implement Short Term Action Plans and develop Medium Term Sustainability Improvement Plans (SIP) through WOPs. The African Water Association (AfWA) and WaterLinks will coordinate at regional level the implementation of the WOPs projects with the utilities involved.

In Africa, Blantyre Water Board, Malawi and Welayita Sodo Town Water Utility, Ethiopia, the mentees, are mentored by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (eTMM), Water Unit, Durban, South Africa. In Asia, Khulna Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority from Bangladesh, are mentored respectively by Kota Surabaya, Indonesia, and Suez India, India.

During the 2-year long partnerships between the five pairs of utilities, “mentor” operators will support “mentees” with capacity development and change implementation in high-priority areas, ranging from improving billing and collection to energy efficiency, assembled in Short Term Action Plans (STAPs). The STAPs will include a small investment component, such as a pilot project, to ignite long term changes towards sustainability.


Towards the end of the STAP implementation, the WOP partners will be supported to conduct a more thorough joint analysis of the causes and potential solutions to their performance shortcomings, and to develop Sustainability Improvement Plans (SIPs) which would lay out a suite of longer-term improvement steps, combined with an investment component, to be implemented during a subsequent phase of improvement (lasting 3-5 years). To maximize potential for uptake, the MTSIPs will be developed with the involvement of relevant banks or donors (including those who have already shown interest in investing in the beneficiary countries’ utilities).

Throughout the process, the WOPs partners will be supported by GWOPA to coordinate thepartnering processes, on WOPs approaches and best WOPs practice; and with relevanttechnical trainingon themes requiring deeper learning. Key staff from participating operators will share their learning and showcase their experience through onlineCommunities of Practice (CoPs)dedicated to various relevant technical issues and partnering issues as well, establishing bridges and fostering cross-fertilization between the regions. GWOPA is also providing a Planning and Monitoring online tool (the PMP) for the WOP Programme which allows: 1. comparative analysis of various projects of the Programme; and 2, visualization of parameters of each of the monitoring dimensions (impact and partnering practices).

The program was launched in May 2019, with a launching webinar and then a kick-off workshop last June, organized in Barcelona, Spain, by GWOPA. The workshop was attended by representatives from Malawi, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines that explained their plans for further collaborations for WOPs.

As part of the implementation of the project, a launching workshop was held in Sodo (Ethiopia) and Blantyre (Malawi) last August, followed by a benchmarking visit to the eThekwini municipality of Durban (South Africa) in September 2019. The objective of the benchmarking visit, attended by both mentee teams at the same time, The objective of the audit visit is exposing the mentee utilities to the good practices of the mentor and starting the self-assessment process for the identification of the priority themes of the SIP.  The next phase of the implementation of the project is the mentees diagnostic visit.

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Chemical and microbiological analysis laboratory of EWS, Durban                 Field visit visit to a drinking water treatment plant of UMGENI, Durban


The objective of the audit visitsis to evaluate the level of performance the mentees, through the methodology developed by GWOPA, and identify improvements to be made on different aspects according to the priorities of the mentees. Those priorities will be captured in a Short Term Action Plan, entered in the online PMP for monitoring and reporting purposes.

In Asia, the first diagnosis is taking place in Da Nang, Vietnam, then Khulna and Chittagong in Bangladesh before the end of the year.

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Field visit during the SIP WOP in Vietnam                                                        Mentors and mentees interactions for the SWOT analysis



Signing ceremony of MOU between MWAP and DAWACO











  • Urban October 2019: 31 Days of Promoting a Better Urban Future

European utilities, governments, financiers and NGOs met at a meeting convened by the European Commission Devco in Brussels last week, to talk about a new Water Operators’ Partnerships Programme (EU-WOP) being prepared for launching in 2020. Aimed at helping utilities in developing countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the programme would provide support to water utilities from Europe to mentor their peers in developing countries. This EU-funded programme will be managed by the Global Water Operators' Partnerships (GWOPA) of UN-Habitat under which around 20 Water Operators' Partnerships will be established and will receive guidance from the global alliance.

In its development cooperation, the European Commission is increasingly embracing partnership approaches like WOPs that address multiple objectives and bring different actors together to reach the SDGs. The EU-WOPs programme proposes to add value to the diverse decentralized WOP activities already being led by European water utilities, by creating opportunities for learning and exchange between them. It also helps to get new European utilities involved as mentors. The programme also aims to involve financial institutions early on, to anchor and extend the benefits of these capacity development partnerships by linking them with investments.

During the meeting, more than 50 people from European Institutions put their minds together to comment and suggest improvements to the proposed programme. The EU-WOP programme builds on the lessons from an earlier Europe-wide experience (the 2013 EU-ACP Water Facility Partnership Window) and will make use of GWOPA’s experience in supporting WOPs processes.


Monday, 09 September 2019 10:41

BEWOP launches the Green Utility Toolkit

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The Green Utility tool is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for formal utilities who wish to embark in the path of sustainability

Wednesday, 28 August 2019 19:38

Call for WUF10 events and exhibition space open

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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: (Deadline 14 October)

- Side events: (Deadline 14 October)

- Training events: (Deadline 14 October)

- Exhibition: (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

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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:


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.


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