European WOP Enablers’ Exchange

The European WOP Enablers: Tapping the Potential of Operator Solidarity for a Water-Secure World

Most of the world’s population counts on a public water and sanitation operator for their essential basic services. Their work is fundamental. Yet around the world, tens of thousands of these operators struggle to provide safe services to all who need them.

Strong water utilities can be an invaluable support to others. Water Operators Partnerships mobilize strong water and sanitation operators to mentor their peers, without profit motives. They are highly effective in helping utilities make and sustain improvements, to become more financially sound, socially inclusive, green and resilient.


Why a Platform for Enabling WOPs in Europe?

  • Many European operators have the skills and motivations to help their peers by entering a partnership, but face barriers to do so. Overcoming these barriers – legal, financial, political and technical – can unlock the potential of European operators to help millions of people receive improved services.
  • The European Union has recently launched the EU-WOP programme with 22 new WOP projects around the world. Yet hundreds more utilities are keen to get involved – over 250 utilities participated in the call for proposals.
  • Momentum for WOPs is growing and countries like France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Finland have made headway in enabling WOPs and offer inspiration and lessons for others.
  • As climate change and sustainably threats mount, utilities need support. Now is the moment to take these partnerships to another level.
  • European institutions are key to unblocking the bottleneck to more of these impactful, solidarity- based partnerships. They can help one another do so.

Who are European WOPs Enablers?

All those that have a role in helping utilities help each other, are invited. This includes:

  • EU Member States, regions and municipalities that support or (co) finance utilities’ international cooperation activities;
  • Governments and regulators whose policies and procedures can enable or inhibit utilities in engaging
  • European utilities whose human and financial resources can support their peers
  • Development banks that make use of WOPs as a diagnostic tool to identify investment priorities,enhance follow-up of infrastructure investment projects, and improve capacity development
  • Civil Society Organisations which support global development objectives and human rights
  • Partner organizations in the the EU-WOP projects are strongly encouraged to participate.

Past Events:

The first European WOP Enablers’ Exchange in 2022 (Read the outcome report)

The second European WOP Enablers’ Exchange in 2023 during the 5th Global WOP Congress


The Third European WOP Enablers’ Exchange: Financial and Legal Instruments

1 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. 17 January 2024

Bonn, Germany and online

In continuation of the previous Enablers’ Dialogues held in 2022 and 2023 during the 5th Global WOP Congress, this year’s session is to facilitate the exchange and learning of European actors on financial and legal mechanisms to support WOPs in their replication, adaptation or improvement. A survey of national water stakeholders is being undertaken, aiming to identify the diversity of European mechanisms to support peer-to-peer partnerships. Its outputs will be presented and discussed in the session to share experiences and best practices.