Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) are peer-support partnerships between water and sanitation service providers. WOPs work by harnessing the skills, knowledge and goodwill within a strong utility to build the capacity and improve the performance of another utility that needs assistance or guidance.
While there has been progress in extending access to water and sanitation services in recent decades, 2.1 billion people still cannot count on contamination-free water, available on premises whenever they need it, and 4.5 billion still lack sanitation systems that protect them from disease.
High water losses, poorly designed tariffs and poor billing and collection systems contribute to financial problems that worsen infrastructure and services and further exclude those without access. Sanitation services and waste water treatment are generally inadequate or inexistent, and many utilities rely on diminishing sources of water. Compounded by antiquated and wasteful linear approaches to urban water management, poor governance and weak management, financial and operational approaches, many service providers are unable to confront the widening scope of social and environmental challenges before them.
The “world we want” will only be possible if we achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6, the SDG Water Goal. For the many people that lack access, ensuring the “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” is an urgent priority. But it is also a requirement for achieving all of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, from peace to prosperity.
Water and Sanitation service providers play a significant role in reaching all of the SDG 6 targets. Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) are peer support exchanges between two or more water operators, carried out on a not-for-profit basis, with the objective of strengthening their capacity, enhancing their performance and enabling them to provide a better service to more people. WOPs have a proven track-record and can be highly cost-effective.