WaterSan Perspective: Water Experts Call For Partnership in Solving Water Problems

NEWS SOURCE: WaterSan Perspective

By Fredrick Mugira

February 29, 2016

Water experts from different countries across the globe are rooting for the partnership approach in solving water resource problems.

The call comes as the water professionals and authorities from Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Tanzania and South Africa meet in Pretoria, South Africa for a week-long knowledge exchange organised by the 2030 Water Resource Group (2030 WRG), a global public-private-civil society partnership based in Washington USA in collaboration with Stockholm International Water Institute and the Water and Sanitation Department of South Africa.

Addressing the close to 100 participants at Sheraton Pretoria hotel, Anders Berntell, the 2030 WRG Executive Director stressed that partnerships based on collaboration and teamwork would provide more consistent, co-ordinated and comprehensive solution to the water resource problems.

Such partnerships could be between individuals; private sector; agencies; organisations and governments. And according to water experts attending this meeting, this would help to solve problems like: water scarcity; aquifer depletion; corruption in the water sector; water overuse; pollution and changes in water availability among others.

One of the countries that have benefited from this approach is Kenya, a country facing a 30 per cent deficit between the water resources and demand, according to water experts.

In an exclusive chat with WaterSan Perspective at the meeting, Kimanthi Kyengo, the Kenya’s Deputy Director in charge of Water Services said such an approach is a practical solution to Kenya’s water problems.

“It is one of the solutions that is potentially beneficial to Kenya. It brings ideas, expertise and resources in the water sector.”

To make this approach work, Kimanthi says Kenya has, “Developed concepts on how it would benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens; sensitised all the stakeholders about the process and is now in the process of recruiting stakeholders to come together to look for solutions.”

Similarly, this approach has worked in Tanzania. Engineer Christopher Sayi, the chairperson of National Water Board for Tanzania says it is helping to make sure all stakeholders especially the private sector know their roles in conserving the water resource.

“That is why we are encouraging these partnerships so that they (private sector) can also contribute in terms of technology and also contribute towards financing the management of water resources in the country.”

Earlier, while speaking during the opening session, Anton Earle, the Director of Africa regional centre for the Swedish International Water Institute gave an example of partnership between governments citing the South African government which is partnering with that of Lesotho to import water to Pretoria, some 400 kilometres away, following high rains in Lesotho.

Workshop kick-starts process for wastewater policy transformation in Indian State of Karnataka

Karnataka_WastewaterReuseWorkshop1The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) in consultation with the Karnataka Urban Development Department, and in particular, the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (“KUWSDB”), recently hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop “Wastewater Reuse by Industry in the State of Karnataka” to initiate discussions on policy options and drive circular economy solutions.

Considering the acute water scarcity faced by Karnataka, reuse of industrial and municipal wastewater provides a cost-effective solution to use existing water resources more efficiently while promoting economic development and employment.

Karnataka_WastewaterReuseWorkshop2Highlighting the need to unlock operational bottlenecks by catalyzing an action-oriented policy framework, the discussions focused on institutional, governance, financial, and implementation arrangements for wastewater reuse, substantiated by on-ground learnings. The workshop concluded by identifying the next steps which include the drafting of a comprehensive policy on the topic through a multi-stakeholder committee as well as acceleration of project implementation in the field.


For more details contact Rochi Khemka (rkhemka@ifc.org) / Chaminda Rajapakse (crajapakse@ifc.org)

Improving water efficiency in Karnataka’s sugarcane sector


Sugarcane red outwire by Matt Jacoby

Sugarcane red outwire by Matt Jacoby

The sugar sector in Karnataka has a large water footprint, supports 700,000 farmers, covers about 430,000 hectares of land, and produces an annual sugar output of 4 million tons. Many livelihoods depend on the entire sugar value chain, from sugarcane farmers to sugar mills. If all sugarcane farmers in the state start using drip irrigation, they could reduce their water abstraction by 2.6 billion m3 – an estimated 10 percent of the state’s projected gap between water demand and supply in 2030.

The 2030 WRG is working with sugar mills, financial institutions, the farming community (through individual farmer representatives), and the government to develop innovative financing and implementation models that encourage the state’s sugarcane farmers to use drip irrigation. This will improve the efficient use of water in agriculture, while developing replicable frameworks for market-driven solutions and public-private-community participation models.

The Water Resources Department of the Government of Karnataka has now made arrangements for implementation of drip irrigation across the state’s sugarcane sector. “In Karnataka, we are taking the initiative to implement one of the world’s largest micro-irrigation projects in the sugarcane sector. The program combines livelihood promotion with water use efficiency by adopting a unique model of working with sugar mills for outreach, aggregation, and capacity building of farmers. Through the 2030 WRG’s active involvement for this engagement, the state’s Water Resources Department is also promoting an innovative financing mechanism that leverages the strengths of the government, sugar mills, and financial institutions to provide repayment guarantees for loans to farmers to install drip irrigation,” said Mallanagouda Basanagouda Patil, Minister for Water Resources, Government of Karnataka.

Unlocking finance

The 2030 WRG has helped private sector stakeholders collaborate with the government and farmers to unlock finance, a key constraint to technology adoption. Its work in the state has led to the following results:

  • The government has allocated $250 million through its state budget to mobilize financial markets, encourage farmers to adopt new irrigation technology, and increase the participation of private and public sector financial institutions.
  • A variety of stakeholders have worked together to provide inputs into the government policy implementation guidelines. Including key stakeholders in the decision-making process for policy transformation will accelerate implementation.
  • The sugar mills have developed the first set of detailed project reports for implementation. These plans include alignment with financial institutions for equipment financing.

Grounding the engagement in the business case

“Agri-technology adoption at a state-wide scale requires access to finance. Traditional subsidy-driven approaches suffer from a fiscal ceiling on the possible farmer support realizable. The 2030 WRG’s approach of grounding the engagement in the business case for all supply-chain actors, while mobilizing financial institutions to meet the financing gap for technology promotion, has the potential to significantly expand the universe of beneficiary farmers and place agri-water front and center in Karnataka’s development priorities,” said Govinda Rajulu Chintala, Chief General Manager, NABARD.

Reusing wastewater

Reusing wastewater is less expensive than increasing the primary supply of water, particularly when wastewater network systems and treatment plants are planned and designed for reuse. Based on its analysis of wastewater reuse in the urban and industrial sectors of key Karnataka cities, the 2030 WRG aims to create opportunities for public-private partnerships by bringing in best-practice technology and financing models. It is preparing pilot projects in the cities of Tumkur and Bellary in partnership with the state government.

The 2030 WRG is engaging with the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board to develop tools for assessing the cost of wastewater reuse in municipalities and industrial sectors, and to build the capacity of stakeholders. The partnership aims to establish a solutions center on wastewater reuse and strengthen the state’s ability to identify and implement opportunities to reuse wastewater.

Multi-stakeholder platform

A cross-departmental multi-stakeholder platform is being formed to support the pilot city engagements, operationalize the solutions center on wastewater reuse, and strengthen the policy framework in partnership with the Urban Development Department to promote the reuse of wastewater.

“In partnership with the 2030 WRG, we are working on developing a tool to estimate the cost-economics of reusing treated municipal wastewater and to market this resource within industry through PPPs. Industrial use of wastewater will free up fresh water for other uses. The 2030 WRG is helping us design the marketplace and determine whether the use of treated wastewater is best promoted by regulation, incentives, or a combination thereof. We hope the State of Karnataka will lead the way on this topic in the country,” elaborated Manivannan Ponniah, Managing Director, Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board.

New groundwater management and monitoring services tariff in Peru

Water FaucetAs part of the ongoing institutional reform in Peruvian water resources management and, in particular, from the Legislative Decree #1185 (August 2015), the Empresas Prestadoras de Servicios de Saneamiento (EPS) (water utilities, responsible for providing drinking water and sanitation services), will now be in a position to implement and administer a new groundwater management and monitoring services tariff (GWMMT) for non-agricultural users with their own wells.

The 2030 WRG have supported SUNASS, the water services regulator, responsible for determining the tariff to be levied by water utilities, in developing the methodology for the design and implementation of the GWMMT.

Incentives for behavioral changes

Albeit initially conceived of as a cost-recovery instrument for water utilities to support their activities in managing and monitoring groundwater resources, the GWMMT, through establishing prices for groundwater-related services, also provides incentives for behavioural changes so as to move away from unsustainable patterns of groundwater withdrawal countrywide.

The tariff will be initially levied within 2016 by two water utilities: SEDAPAL, responsible for water services operation in Greater Lima, and SEDALIB, in Trujillo. The remainder of utilities will qualify for the implementation of the tariff within the next few months with technical support from SUNASS.

Opportunity costs

Provided institutional arrangements and complexities can be overcome – the 2030 WRG is also co-working with key stakeholders towards that aim –, especially the legal powers of SUNASS and the coexistence of SUNASS (as water services regulating entity) and the ANA (as the governmental body responsible for the regulation of water resources management, levying a water abstraction fee) then the GWMMT, as an incentive pricing mechanism, may convey information about opportunity costs of using groundwater, whilst inducing lower groundwater consumption.

Through internalizing the opportunity cost of groundwater and making non-agricultural groundwater users accountable for their water use, the incentive pricing features of the Peruvian GWMMT not only provide a means to reduce pressures on groundwater-dependent ecosystems (such as wetlands in the valleys of rivers Rímac and Chillón) but also help mitigate pressures over surface water resources, using groundwater as a buffer resource, especially in the Pacific watersheds (1.8% of surface runoff, more than 60% of the country’s population and 80% of national GDP).

Best practice

Although there are examples of groundwater tariffs in other countries, the Peruvian GWMMT can arguably be considered as quite unique because the way the tariff structure is designed, it links to ground water management plans which reflects a best practice that can be replicated in other countries.

By reducing excess demand, the GWMMT also reduces the need for further investment in grey infrastructure, something that may be especially relevant within the current macroeconomic context of economic downturn and fiscal consolidation. 2030 WRG is playing a key role both in supporting the water services regulator and also in creating the right incentives for sustainable water use, whilst promoting wide alliances to recognize that water is a limiting factor but also an opportunity for development in Peru.

Water Scarcity Solutions Case Study Highlights

Each quarter we highlight specific case studies from the 2030 WRG online catalogue of case studies. The catalogue showcases best practice solutions to addressing the growing water scarcity challenge. To submit a case or to view our other case studies, see www.waterscarcitysolutions.org.


Basin based approach for groundwater management – Neemrana, Rajasthan, India

Neemrana, IndiaSABMiller India partnered with local stakeholders in Alwar to implement a basin-wide groundwater management initiative which ensures the security and sustainability of the local deep aquifer. The deep aquifer is the only reliable source of water supply for the agricultural, industrial and municipal sectors in the semi-arid region. The seasonal monsoon rainfall is the only other source of water supply. A plan was launched to increase groundwater recharge through the construction of six recharge structures. Scheduled training programs for local farmers on water efficiency practices were also implemented to reduce withdrawal for agricultural purposes.This is benefiting more than 4 000 farms on a regular basis. In addition, water efficient agricultural practices were showcased by 136 knowledge farms covering 105 ha in 68 villages. The project was financed by SABMiller India. The initiative has improved the management of the local deep aquifer and the security of supply for the Roches Brewery in Neemrana.

See the case study in our online catalogue >>

Rustenburg Innovative Financing Arrangements – South AfricaTable Mountain, South Africa

In the last two decades Rustenburg in South Africa has experienced a rapid population growth due to the expansion of mining operations in the region. This significantly increased both municipal and industrial water demands and overwhelmed the capacity of the existing wastewater treatment works. The water services provider, Rustenburg Municipality, was rated as the 3rd most distressed in South Africa and thus unable to raise the finance required to address the problems.To address this challenge, a joint initiative was undertaken between the mines and the municipality to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with a 22-year concession to finance, upgrade and operate water infrastructure. The key to the success of the SPV was the signing of a long term off-take agreement with the mines for the provision of non-potable treated waste water which forms 75% of the SPV’s revenue.The mines previously relied on freshwater that was imported from neighboring catchments. The move to the use of non-potable has enabled the re-allocation of the imported freshwater to the municipality thus increasing the overall freshwater resource that is available in the catchment. Partial improvements in downstream water quality have also been made through better waste water treatment.

See the case study >>

Maharashtra Cotton Water Platform Launched

Maharashtra Cotton MeetingA start of a new partnership with the Government of Maharashtra, NGOs and Industries with the launch of the Maharashtra Cotton Water Platform

2030 WRG recently launched the Maharashtra Cotton Water Platform to enhance and de-risk the livelihoods of more than 500,000 cotton farmers by delivering coordinated solutions for sustainable agricultural practices and water security in the Marathwada and Vidharba regions of Maharashtra. High dependency on rainfall (87% farmers in Marathwada region), unsustainable water use (only 4% of cotton in the Marathwada and Vidharba area is irrigated) and low cotton productivity aggravated due to climate change is driving cotton farmers to suicide.

The platform addresses the present situation by convening key representatives of the government, private sector and civil society which includes a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Maharashtra, and representatives from the state’s Water Resources Department and Water Conservation Department, Jain Irrigation, Syngenta Foundation, C & A Foundation, H & M, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, and WWF India.

The initiative seeks to integrate government schemes, on-farm technology and leverage market resources through the Public Private Partnership for Integrated Agricultural Development (PPP-IAD) framework, making cotton production more sustainable and enabling cotton farmers to be a part of the global sustainability initiatives in cotton.

Currently, the platform is creating a dynamic network of organizations active in Maharashtra in the cotton sector, sharing lessons and good practices for accelerated collective learning on ongoing initiatives and finalizing new initiatives at the farm, community and watershed level. The first formal Sounding Board Meeting was held in December 2015.






Peruvian journalists place water stories high on the agenda

IEP Media Workshop LimaLima, Peru, 11 February, 2016 – A recent media workshop, led by the Institute for Peruvian Studies (IEP) in collaboration with 2030 WRG and other partners, was held to position water as a key topic in the electoral debates as part of the upcoming presidential elections in Peru. Over 40 media professionals from various organizations attended the workshop. They learned about key issues and players, and how to place the stories on the public agenda.

IEP also developed a policy brief on water jointly with the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC or COSUDE in Spanish) with specific guidelines and recommendations for adequate water resources management addressed to presidential candidates and journalists.IEP Media Workshop Peru roundtable

The workshop also provided journalists with innovative tools to manage key information on social media channels. The event furthermore helped water and policy professionals, as well as key decision makers develop a closer relationship with key media influencers in Peru.


>>Click Here to download the IEP Infographic (in Spanish)

Seeking Sustainable Water Services in Peru

Fernando MomiyThis blog post has been written by Fernando Momiy Hada/Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Inspection Office for Sanitation Services (Superintendencia Nacional de Servicios de Saneamiento SUNASS).

Steady urban population growth, the effects of climate change, the risks posed by natural disasters, and the impact of water source and reservoir contamination are calling for greater effort in the area of regulatory management and the involvement of water and sewage service operators in this process.  However, many more institutions are also involved, including the people themselves, whose commitment and active participation will be necessary for the sustainable provision of this vital service.

SUNASS, as the sanitation regulatory entity in Peru, is cognizant of the fact that if we do not tackle these challenges comprehensively, policy or regulatory improvement or economic and financial models will not be able to guarantee the sustainable provision of water and sewage services in the country. Our effort to implement Compensation Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services (Mecanismos de Retribución de los Servicios Ecosistémicos (MRSE)* in order to ensure that sanitation service providers can finance projects that help preserve the consistency, quality, and quantity of the water sources reveals the need for comprehensive management of water resources.

We therefore commend the Ministry of Housing, Construction, and Sanitation—the sector’s governing body—for approving the regulatory framework for the use of groundwater by turning over its infrastructure (wells and underground tunnels) to the sanitation service providers for maintenance and conservation and tasking SUNASS with responsibility for approving rate-setting methodology.  This progress is being made in the context of the challenges arising from the ground water depletion being observed in Lima and Callao, which runs the risk of leaving the population without water reserves, should changes in the water cycle occur in the watersheds that supply water to the cities.

SUNASS approved the implementation of the system revolving around rate subsidies for potable water, which will pave the way for optimization of the incentives for the development of the service by residents.

Taking stock of water resources in the design of the country’s development strategy is the first step to guarantee future growth.  Water is critical to all economic activities.  For this reason, if we do not approach our development taking water into account—how we will use it and distribute it and how much we will develop it—we will not be able to lay the groundwork for sustainable development in the future.

In our quest for sustainable water resources, we have received support from such key institutions as the 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG), which included us in working groups and opened the doors of its Board of Directors so as to seek consensus among national authorities, NGOs, private enterprises, and international assistance entities, all assembled as one group with the aim of contributing to crafting a joint vision and model for water use, which Peru needs.

*Compensation mechanisms for ecosystem services are financial mechanisms intended to conserve, recover, or use, in a sustainable manner, water source ecosystems through the provision of incentives to residents to carry out these activities.

MoU signed with Consejo Consultivo del Agua, in collaboration with CONAGUA, Mexico

MoU signed with ElConsejo MexicoThe Mexican Consejo Consultivo del Agua (Water Advisory Council) and the 2030 Water Resources Group in collaboration with CONAGUA, have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to design and implement various initiatives that will ensure a more sustainable and productive use of water in Mexico.

Please see the article (in Spanish only) >>

Karnataka Stakeholders Deliberate on Policy for Urban Wastewater Reuse

Karnataka_WastewaterWorkshopKarnataka, India, February 17, 2016 – 2030 WRG has facilitated the establishment of a Committee to promote the reuse of treated municipal wastewater, particularly by industry, through the development of the requisite policy framework. The Committee includes the Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka, as well as representatives from industry, civil society organizations, and academic experts.

In the State of Karnataka, a key Hydro-Economic Analysis facilitated by 2030 WRG[1] shows that the State will require twice as much water by 2030 as is consumed today, and that a business-as-usual approach will help meet only half of this requirement. The incremental cost of wastewater reuse is becoming more economical than primary supply augmentation from fresh surface water sources, when wastewater network systems and treatment plants are planned and designed for reuse and alternative fresh water sources are declining or unavailable.

Karnataka_WasteWaterWorkshopThe policy framework aims to address key constraints for the reuse of wastewater. In addition to lack of awareness on the opportunities and benefits of reuse, current pricing of water does not reflect economic externalities. It fails to account for the range of external costs associated with the conventional water cycle of abstraction, purification and discharge. Moreover, private sector initiative is crucial for supporting innovation, professional management, and improved operation and maintenance, which the policy aims to support.

The stakeholder deliberations are addressing regulatory, institutional and financial policy options needed to grow the market share of treated wastewater. The policy framework will be supplemented with institutional capacity for the implementation of concrete reuse projects.

[1]Creating a Sustainable Water Future for Karnataka- Urban and Industrial Sectors, Deloitte and 2030 Water Resources Group,2014