According to UN-Water, almost half of the world's workers work in water-related sectors. While most of these jobs depend on water, only a fraction involve being on the front lines of service provision. Many jobs are therefore compromised when operators do not have the right conditions or skills to do theirs.
The challenges faced by water utilities and their staff are as diverse as the contexts in which they work. After the recent typhoon Winston that hit Fiji, ensuring water services meant overcoming the infrastructural damage of natural disaster; in California it means finding innovative ways to save water. However despite the differences, operators share the common work of providing safe, reliable water services.
In 2016, the International Year of Water and Jobs, UN-Water is highlighting the importance of water to the world’s work and calling us to appreciate the work involved in ensuring that water is sustainably managed and available.
Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) are growing as an approach to help utilities learn from their peers. Hailed as both educational and inspirational, WOPs can impact on job productivity and quality in various ways.
- Skills Development – WOPs develop the skills of staff working in water and sanitation utilities and help them work better together.
- Staff Motivation – WOPs help build employees’ job satisfaction and motivation
- Labour-management dialogue – big WOPs get staff throughout the utility talking together about what improvement should look like, and how it should be done.
- Improving job quality and safety - some WOPs focus directly on improving worker safety and working conditions
GWOPA is collecting stories from water and sanitation operators on what they do and how WOPs have helped.
What does water mean for you work? What does your work mean for water? What do WOPs mean for both? Take a few minutes to tell us your story.