Friday, 17 April 2015 02:00

Thematic Sessions

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10 Thematic sessions were held during the 3rd Global WOPs Congress, covering a variety of topics linked to the work of operators and the SDGs.

Sanitation, Wastewater Services & SWOPs (English / French Interpretation)

Universal and equitable access to improved and safely managed sanitation services will be a common challenge for all water operators in the upcoming years. Following mitigated results from the MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 recalls the need to “achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation” by 2030. This session will showcase Sanitation and Water Operators’ 

✓ The Ingredients in Effective WOPs: Lessons from the BEWOP Project (English / Spanish Interpretation) 

Like the challenges operators are trying to address, Water Operators’ Partnerships are diverse. They vary in scope, duration, knowledge transfer approaches, contractual relationship and dozens of factors in between. Yet even amidst the diversity, those WOPs that work well tend to share some common ingredients. One of the objectives of Global WOPs Alliance and the raison d’etre of the BEWOP initiative, a partnership between GWOPA and UNESCO-IHE begun in 2013, has been to better understand the WOPs practice and to distil from it those ingredients that favour effectiveness in WOPs. Drawing from findings emerging from the first phase of the BEWOP programme, this interactive session will briefly present and defend some fundamental elements in effective WOPs.

✓ Cutting Losses: WOPs in support of Energy Efficiency and Water Loss Reduction (English / Spanish Interpretation)

One third of developing countries reports that urban utilities lack revenue to fund operation and maintenance (GLAAS report, 2012). Growing pressure to recover costs coupled with rising concerns on saving water resources require water and sanitation operators to focus their attention on cutting losses. Reducing Non-Revenue Water (NRW) or implementing energy efficiency measures are some of many strategies to help operators save financial resources or augment their incomes with the objective of improving services. This session will present WOPs that have enabled operators to improve their performance by cutting losses. The discussion will contribute to understand the potential financial gains and margin to improve services, and illustrate concrete opportunities for operators to increase their revenues by exchanging exp

Finance and WOPs (English / French Interpretation)

The session aims to give concrete examples where financiers and water operators have achieved their respective objectives, with appropriate reporting mechanisms. WOPs can enable operators to increase their financial viability, sustainability and autonomy. WOPs can be used as a tool to leverage money, either by saving financial resources internally (through efficiency measures, better financial management) or by mobilizing domestic public finance to follow-up and scale-up their achievements. This follow-on finance can go toward hard investments, which remain critical to improve the quality of the services supplied and to extend coverage in low-income contexts. Different financing approaches, being private- or public-driven, will be debated as a core question of the post-2015 agenda.

✓ Water Resources Protection and Resilience (English / Spanish Interpretation)

In the face of unprecedented climate and contamination threats, how can water operators protect their water resources and strengthen their resiliency? The financial, governance and personnel training challenges to guarantee uninterrupted provision of healthy water – despite floods and droughts - are enormous. This session will explore forward-looking strategies to safeguard water supplies, restore watersheds, and fortify disaster management procedures, among other resiliency strategies. Solutions are inherently complex; many require that operators acquire new skills and sophistication to collaborate across sectors and institutions. Resiliency is a timely topic in WOPs arrangements among operators from Latin America to Asia; cases and tools will be featured and results from operator surveys will be presented. Please join us for a practical, informative session, sure to help you in strengthening your own utility's resiliency.

✓ Local Authorities, Operators & WOPs (English / Spanish Interpretation)

While operators are on the front lines of service provision, local authorities, who are directly responsible for the public health and wellbeing of their citizens, are often standing just behind. Managing water sustainably and providing equal access to water and sanitation services to all are common challenges for local authorities everywhere. LAs are increasingly committed and united to taking up these challenges: 95 Local and Regional Authorities from 26 countries gathered at the 7th World Water Forum adopted Water Action for Sustainable Cities and Regions Daegu-Gyeongbuk. The thematic session will address some of these challenges. Its objectives are to showcase examples where operators and local authorities are working closely together for sustainable development and universal access to water, share examples where local authorities are taking proactive role in fostering WOPs and discuss how local authorities, operators and citizen can work together to upscale partnerships.

✓ Integrity and Governance (English / French Interpretation)

Integrity Water Integrity

This session is co-organized by WIN and GIZ, which will share hands-on experiences and good practices on implementing Water Integrity (WI) in utilities: MENA region: utilities from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan will share their Water TAP experiences (TAP refers to Transparency, Accountability and Participation as the main pillars for WI), a new action oriented and self-managed approach, based on risk mapping for value chains (or processes) to analyse and plan actions for more integrity and improved compliance management East Africa: a utility from Kenya will demonstrate their application of the Integrity Management toolbox for WSPs (water service providers). 


This part of the session will be devoted to issues of governance at several levels. There will be first an overview of the concept of governance which will define was is intended by good governance, not only at the macro level (or water sector regulation) but also within utilities (participative decision making processes, for example) and between utilities and other stakeholders (how utility networks can improve the sector governance).

✓ Measuring Performance in Utilities and WOPs: KPIs and beyond (English / Spanish Interpretation)

The performance of water operators is at the core of the outstanding challenge to ensure universal access to improved water services. What is not measured cannot be managed, which makes measuring performance of water utilities central for water services improvement. The first part of this session will addresses questions like: What does it mean to be a well-performing water operator? Which are the commonly selected Key Performance Indicators and to what extent does their achievement entails improved service delivery? Which systems/methodologies are applied to track and improve performance at individual, organisational and sector level? How does performance measurement support performance improvement? How can WOPs support the development of sector performance monitoring systems?

✓ Useful tools to Ensure Equity (English / Spanish Interpretation)

We know that around 800 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and more than twice as many lack an adequate toilet. However we still don’t know enough about who is left out and what is needed to reach them. There is a growing appreciation of the fact that a host of geographical, social, and political factors are set against bringing water and sanitation service to this population and that no simple continuation of the status quo will suffice to do that. This recognition is expressed in the adoption and ongoing articulation of the Human Right to Water, echoed in the post-2015 sustainable development goals preparation, and the appeal for “closing the equity gap” made by the open working group on the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Goal.

✓ Beyond Drinking Water: How WOPs Can Help Utilities contribute to IUWM (English / Spanish Interpretation)

If we follow current patterns of development, half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030. Being able to deal with scarcity in ways that keep people, the environment and economies healthy and resilient will require very different ways of managing water, particularly in cities. Rather than tapping into remote and expensive sources in other basins, sustainable cities will choose to adapt by doing much more with the water they have. Ongoing efforts to reduce unnecessary demand for high quality drinking water through more efficient technology, better urban planning, pricing and behaviour change will be increasingly important. However once used, drinking water can also be treated to the optimal level for its next purpose, and reused. Furthermore, recovering energy and valuable resources from wastewater will become an environmental and fiscal imperative. Finally, returning used water safely to the environment in a way that allows it to replenish, rather than pollute, water sources must become standard practice.

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