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. Critically, WOPs follow a Code of Conduct (French/Spanish) that sets out the principles for practice.
WOPs make use of the fact that while many local water and sanitation service providers are struggling, others have great performance and are willing to support others in their improvement process on a not-for-profit basis.
Through mentorship, WOPs progressively strengthen and empower beneficiary utilities on management, financial and technical levels to implement operational and organizational changes that lead to better and more sustainable services.
Utilities may take up WOPs to support a range of objectives: increasing efficiency, introducing new functions such as pro-poor units or sanitation services, bettering environmental performance, facilitating access to finance, extending access to services, or rebuilding human resource capacity following a remunicipalization.
WOPs are used in a range of settings: from urban to small towns, and from middle income countries to low income and fragile states, and should always be fit to the local needs and context.
“It has been a very eye-opening experience learning from them every day. We apply what we learnt to be the best.” Hugo Rancharan. Assistant Operation Manager at BWS
“Learning different ways of doing the same thing. On both sides of the Atlantic we have the same task: provide water to the community. It’s a two-way relationship in which both parties learn.” WOP between Aguas de Xelaju (Guatemala) and the Municipal Operator of Zaragoza (Spain)
“I realized that the product that I am giving out adds to the quality of life for thousands of people (…) We are implementing the things [learnt with Contra Costa] on a daily basis.” Eric Rhaburn, System supervisor at BWS.
Building WOPs for Sustainable Development in Water and Sanitation. IWA, GWOPA/UN-Habitat, Vitens-Evides International
National WOP factsheet. BEWOP
Utilities Fight COVID-19. GWOPA/UN-Habitat