Tanzania Multi-Sector Forum on Water Resources: Collaboration Key to Ensuring Water Security

Senior leaders from the Tanzanian water sector convened at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam on 3rd December 2019 for the 3rd National Multi-Sector Forum on Water Resources to explore strategies for strengthening the collaboration among stakeholders in Tanzania’s water sector. Attendees renewed the focus on water data collection and harmonization as a necessary step in enhancing the nation’s water security, particularly around groundwater use and management, underlining the need for collaboration and coordination among sector stakeholders.

The forum, which was hosted by the Ministry of Water in collaboration with the 2030 Water Resources Group, Raleigh Tanzania, Water Aid, and Shahidi wa Maji, was aimed at enhancing cross-sectoral coordination as envisioned in the country’s Integrated Water Resources Management Development (IWRMD) Plans by breaking down institutional silos and catalyzing the exchange of knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources required to improve the country’s future water security.

“The current resources will not increase but the population will increase. If we don’t plan effectively, conflicts of water will continue” said the Minister for Water, Professor Makame Mbarawa during his opening statement. “As a ministry, our focus has been to build water infrastructures – but we should also be working on managing and protecting our water resources,” he said, highlighting opportunities for increasing engagement with the private sector to do so.

From advanced wastewater treatment and reuse to efficient on-farm practices, some firms are very technologically advanced in both thinking and practice when it comes to managing factory fence – or on-site – risks. However, many smaller firms do not have the capacity – human resources, finance, and technical ability – to either build the business case for such resource efficiency or to implement the actual practices. To leverage existing local knowledge and practices, as well as help promote national business-to-business knowledge transfer around sustainable and integrated water management, it was agreed to develop a compendium of good practices in private sector water management and stewardship in Tanzania.

The Forum also committed to contributing the necessary resources towards improving the collection and harmonization of water data to support data-based water management planning, especially with regards to the nation’s groundwater resource availability, quality, and usage.

Tanzania is endowed with relatively abundant freshwater resources, but these are unevenly distributed and increasingly at risk. Water demand in the key economic sectors of agriculture, energy and manufacturing is rising sharply alongside rising requirements from population growth for supplying domestic consumption, improving the conditions of the poor and for the environment.

The need to work collaboratively is more urgent than ever. Climate change is likely to have severe consequences for Tanzania through increased temperatures, changes in rainfall, increasingly frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels. By 2030, climate change is anticipated to cost two percent, or TZH 816 billion per year, of Tanzania’s GDP.

The forum, now officially in its third year, brings together senior leaders from government, business, research institutions, and civil society, to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration, inform decision making at the national and basin levels, and help shape an improved institutional framework for decision making.

The forum will among other issues, review progress against the country’s seven IWRMD plans, developed during the implementation of the Water Sector Development Programme Phase I which ended in 2019. The plans aim to reduce the current fragmentation in water resources planning and management that results in water resources development and use being seen narrowly as a sectoral issue – and will define a roadmap for strengthening cooperation moving forward.

“Water cuts across all sectors, therefore strengthening collaboration and partnership among them is key to the performance and long-term sustainability of many sectors of the economy,” said the Minister for Water Prof. Makame Mbarawa, ahead of the event. “Better coordination between competing water resource users is a critical issue at both the national and local levels. This forum is an opportunity to create a shared understanding of the challenges we face, and to align our priorities to ensure the most optimal outcome for all water users while also safeguarding our water security for future generations.”

“This forum plays a critical role in fostering the necessary collaboration for the development of a more efficient and sustainable water resource management sub-sector. The discussions are essential to bridging the coordination gap between the various authorities engaged in water resources management and will help unlock opportunities for expanding business and improving local livelihoods through strengthened engagement with the private sector” said Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Water, Prof. Kitila Mkumbo.

Habari za Maji Media Awards
The forum also featured the presentation of the Habari za Maji Award which recognizes the important contribution from media professionals in raising awareness and increasing understanding of Tanzania’s water resource management challenges.


About 2030 Water Resources Group: The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a public, private, civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank Group that supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources. In Tanzania, 2030 WRG has been working with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation on strengthening collaborative approach to water management since 2013. For more information, please visit: www.2030wrg.org

About Raleigh Tanzania: Raleigh Tanzania is an NGO under the Non-Governmental Organisation Act 2002 (no. 00001469). The organization focus on providing access to safe water, sanitation & hygiene, protecting vulnerable environments, building resilient communities and empowering youth. Our work is delivered through diverse teams of young people in partnership with local communities, organisations and our project partners across Tanzani Raleigh Tanzania’s Social Accountability through Youth (SAY) aims to increase the success rate and value for money of development spending in the Dodoma, Iringa and Morogoro regions of Tanzania, benefitting more than 500,000 people. The project will empower over 400 young women and men, including people with disabilities, to effectively and independently monitor project delivery across 179 communities through improved reporting systems – such as a dedicated application named Development Check – and specialized training, these young people will gain an increased ability and confidence to hold development organizations to account and encourage their communities to do the same. For more, please read www.raleightanzania.org

About Shahidi wa Maji: Shahidi wa Maji is a Tanzanian Civil Society Organisation dedicated to sustainability, equity and accountability in water resource management since its formation in 2008. It is implementing Uhakika wa Maji (Fair Water Futures) programme in collaboration with member organizations of TAWASANET as well as Ministry of Water, NEMC and Basin Water Offices in improving water resources management. For more information please visit www.shahidiwamaji.org

About Water Aid: Since 1983, WaterAid Tanzania has been working closely with partners and stakeholders to make clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere. We are one of the leading players in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Our work is closely aligned with the Government of Tanzania’s Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP), and our work aims to unblock the key challenges that the sector is facing in achieving the WSDP targets. We use the lessons and experiences from our projects on the ground to influence policy at the national level. For more information please visit www.wateraid.org

About Water Witness International: Water Witness International is an international NGO working to improve water security for the poor. Distinct from other NGOs operating in water their core expertise lies in water resource management with a focus on the institutional processes that determine whether people can access the water they need and how the sources of their water may be protected for future generations. They work at a local, national and global scale, driving improved water security through a multi-layered approach involving research to spotlight performance gaps; the development of innovative, progressive responses; collaborations with change-makers who can help us to implement those responses; evaluation of evidence and learning from field implementations and, finally, evidence-based advocacy on those learnings to drive change at scale. For more information please visit www.waterwitness.org

Global meets Local: First 2030 WRG field visit by 2030 WRG Governing Council Co-Chairs and Steering Board members

Lima, Peru, November 15 – The first-ever field visit for 2030 WRG Steering Board members to a country program was held in Lima, Peru from 11 to 13 November, bringing together over 60 participants. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the Governing Council Co-Chairs and global Steering Board members to a multi-stakeholder partnership in action and to get to know the country stakeholders and learn from their experiences.

Together with the Peruvian Minister of Environment, Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development of the World Bank, gave opening remarks at a joint high-level global and national 2030 WRG Peru Steering Board meeting. She spoke about the importance of building resilience in water availability and resource management to ensure a sustainable and inclusive water sector, shared how the World Bank is helping countries tackle short and long-term challenges through its new Water Action Plan, and the role of 2030 WRG in bringing different stakeholders from across sectors to pilot cost-effective solutions and build the political capital and trust that change requires.

Here are a few of the highlights from the three-day visit:

Ministerial meeting

A high-level meeting with Peruvian authorities was also convened by the Ministry of Environment, to discuss and share experiences on tackling water challenges in Peru. The authorities represented include the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Development and Social Inclusion, the Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations, the Minister of Housing, Building and Sanitation, the Minister of Energy and Mining, the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, the Head of the National Water Authority, the VP of the Board of SEDAPAL (the water utility of the city of Lima), and the Executive President of SUNASS (the sanitation regulatory entity in Peru).

Blue Certificate to Fenix Power

Paul Bulcke, Chairman of the Board of Nestlé, and 2030 WRG Governing Council Co-Chair, handed company Fenix Power the Blue Certificate during an event hosted by the Swiss Embassy and Nestlé. The Blue Certificate acknowledges water-efficient companies based on ISO standards, making these companies more appealing to investors, customers, and clients who are conscious about sustainability and the environment.

The power plant is the ninth company being certified by ANA, the Peru National Water Authority. Another ten companies are in the process of certification. A site visit tour of the Fenix Power plant during the high-level visit showcased the company’s leadership in developing a Water Footprint Assessment, the implementation of a Water Footprint Reduction Project, and the implementation of a program of shared value with a community in the watershed.

MSPs for SDGs

A panel discussion was held on the role of MSPs in helping to meet the SDGs during a Coca Cola reception. Panelists included international water consultant Gonzalo Delacámara from IMDEA, Jane Nelson, from Harvard University, Ulrike Sapiro, Senior Director Water Stewardship & Agriculture from Coca Cola, and Karin Krchnak, 2030 WRG Program Manager. Comments were also made by Fabiola Muñoz, Minister of Environment, on the importance of collective action in Peru.

Academic Conference

An academic conference hosted by the Universidad del Pacífico included several 2030 WRG Global Steering Board members presenting on water resources as factor for productivity and competitiveness; international and multi-stakeholder perspectives; and private sector involvement in the sustainability of water resources. The presenters provided numerous examples of solutions that in summary focused in on (green/grey) infrastructure solutions, technological innovations, and policy, regulatory and institutional reforms.

LAC Regional Retreat

The team also conducted a working retreat for colleagues from the region. Guest attendees included Mercedes Castro, Chair of the Peru 2030 WRG MSP, Alejandro Conza of Agualimpia, and Elsa Galarza of the Universidad del Pacífico and former Minister of Environment. The retreat offered a chance to conduct deep dives into 2030 WRG Mexico, Peru and São Paolo and identify initiatives that could be replicated across multiple countries (e.g., Blue Certificate).

The three-day high-level meetings were very productive and allowed fruitful discussions around next steps for the multi-donor trust fund, positioning of the program with different audiences, and networking between global and local steering board members as well as amongst partners themselves. The meetings also gave the Governing Council Co-Chairs an opportunity to meet in person to discuss 2030 WRG governance and fundraising priorities. The 2030 WRG global Steering Board are looking forward to similar visits in the near future.

Read or download the publication Five Years of 2030 WRG in Peru >>

See a testimonial video of our Peru partners >>

See some photos of the visit in below gallery >>


Scaling Sanitation and Promoting the Circular Economy Top Priorities for Kenya 2030 WRG Governing Board

The Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) Governing Board –  chaired by Cabinet Secretary Chelugui, Ministry of Water, Sanitation, & Irrigation, and Vimal Shah, Chairman of BIDCO – unanimously endorsed two new priority areas during its second meeting of 2019 mid-November in Nairobi. The initiatives take aim at curbing water pollution through more effective private sector participation in scaling sanitation solutions and leveraging opportunities to incorporate circular economy principles in the country’s national water management strategies.

Scaling sanitation solutions through increased private sector participation

While the water supply coverage has reached a nation-wide expansion of 57% of the population, only about 16% of the population has access to sewerage services. The Kenyan government estimates funding required to the tune of USD 2.5 Billion annually to achieve 80% of sanitation cover by 2030.

Efforts in generating and connecting new sources of water for a water-scarce nation become increasingly challenged by the deteriorating quality of water sources such as rivers, lakes, and dams. Urban centres in Kenya have traditionally relied on city-wide sewerage systems and centralized municipal wastewater treatment facilities for wastewater management. Much of this infrastructure is old and dilapidated, operating at very low capacity and rendering them wholly inadequate to treat the volume of wastewater generated in urban centers. For example, Nairobi City generates approximately 400 million liters of wastewater per day. However, the two treatment plants (Ruai and Kariobangi) which the city relies on having the capacity to treat only 192 million liters per day (160 and 32 million liters per day respectively) and are currently running at about 120 million liters per day. This implies that almost three-quarters of generated wastewater is unaccounted for and most likely finds its way, untreated, into the environment. This does not even factor in wastewater generated from the water abstracted from almost 3,800 boreholes within Nairobi.

Increasing urbanization coupled with the envisioned growth of the manufacturing sector as one of the pillars of the President’s Big Four Agenda are likely to lead to increased volumes of both domestic and industrial wastewater which will compound the problem of water pollution unless we find ways to significantly increase our efforts and investments in sanitation expansion and innovative solutions that are able to generate sustainable business models that do not depend on public funding.

To address the issue, the Governing Board endorsed the creation of a high-level sanitation technical working group intended to further refine the specific scopes of reforms, programmatic interventions and road map for scaling up sanitation solutions – both sanitation governance and crowding in private sector, under the leadership of the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation. The enthusiasm for the proposal reflects a widespread appreciation of the need to address governance bottlenecks caused by overlapping mandates of different sectors relevant to sanitation and the need to pursue alternatives service delivery models for sanitation coverage.

Water in the circular economy agenda

Beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Water systems intersect with all sections of society and industry and opportunities exist in these interfaces to create additional value by application of Circular Economy principles. Water is fundamental to meeting the basic needs of all living things.

The circular economy holds particular promise for achieving multiple SDGs, including SDGs 6 on water, 7 on energy, 8 on economic growth, 11 on sustainable cities, 12 on sustainable consumption and production, 13 on climate change, 14 on oceans, and 15 on life on land.

In order to further systemic change towards a circular water economy in Kenya, the government needs to drive enabling policy and regulatory actions and collaborate with relevant private and civil society partners to implement key initiatives.

The creation of a dedicated ‘water in the circular economy‘ working group aims to work with the relevant Government of Kenya agencies to further refine specific scopes of reforms, programmatic interventions, and road map for making Kenya a regional leader in the circular economy.



2030 WRG Bangladesh Dissemination Workshop on Valuing Water

By Jennifer Möller-Guland

Bangladesh is starting something no country has done before: developing and implementing the assessment of the value of water so that all future investment decisions – from government and private sector – will consider their impact on water and make better decisions.

On November 17, 2019 in Dhaka, the 2030 WRG in partnership with Bangladesh’s Water Resources Ministry and the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industries organized a Dissemination Workshop on Valuing Water. The workshop targeted the private sector to share the benefits of valuing water for their business operations.

As discussed in the workshop, the following outlines the next steps in the project:

  1. Developing a methodology and calculating the shadow price for water, differentiated by region, season, and source
  2. In cooperation with the Planning Commission, incorporating shadow prices into public decision-making processes by integrating these into investment decision-making processes
  3. Piloting and demonstrating the application of these shadow prices for water for private-sector decision making: This would involve cooperation with three companies to trial their application, refine it, and then showcase the derived benefits.

Throughout the above process, the High-Level Valuing Water committee and the Technical Valuing Water Committee – of which the 2030 WRG serves as a secretariat – will guide project implementation.

See local press coverage of the workshop by The Daily Star and The Financial Express.

Panel discussion with Coca-Cola and Unilever participating along with WARPO, IUCN, and 2030 WRG

Coca-Cola highlighting the IWET project, which is being implemented in collaboration with the 2030 WRG

2019 Annual Report: Building Trust, Growing Resilience

This report tracks our activities between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 (Fiscal Year 2019). It provides a record of our strategic approach, our governance structures, and our work at the country level during the year.

Read or download the 2019 Annual Report >>

Q&A with President of Consejo Consultivo del Agua: Collective Action Central to the Democratic Process

Victor Lichtinger is the President of Consejo Consultivo del Agua (CCA), Mexico’s water advisory council. In this interview, he discusses how the 2030 WRG is addressing bottlenecks to progress in a democratic way.

Water resources challenges are complex, interdependent, and highly political in nature. No political or social actor can address or tackle these challenges alone.

2030 WRG: What are the main bottlenecks prohibiting progress in Mexico?

VL: Perhaps one of the most important bottlenecks is the political system itself. It does not regard water issues as important, a situation that translates into declining budgets, continuous state retrenchment, and a lack of enforcement capabilities. Another huge problem is a weak rule of law and corruption.

On the side of civil society, lack of education and knowledge about water challenges is a problem. If society does not pressure governments to address water challenges in a more steadfast and timely manner, governments simply will not allocate political and financial resources to address them.

Lastly, the lack of a more enabling environment for innovation, not only technological innovation, but societal-institutional innovation. For example, it is extremely difficult to innovate in terms of collaboration, inter-institutional coordination, financial mechanisms, and technological innovation. This is why the CCA launched the Social Pact for Water.

2030 WRG: Do you believe sustainable solutions require collective action?

VL: Water resources challenges are complex, interdependent, and highly political in nature. No political or social actor can address or tackle these challenges alone.

Water users all need water for different, valid purposes. But there is not enough water for everyone, so conflicts arise. In a democratic society, such conflict is resolved through deliberative, representative, and inclusive debate of different points of view, allowing collective decision-making. Value pluralism, interest representation, and public deliberation are at the center of democratic practice. Today, more than ever, these practices should be strengthened. Collective action is central to democratic societies. This is what the CCA is all about.

2030 WRG: How has 2030 WRG contributed to collective action through the CCA?

VL: 2030 WRG plays a catalyzing role. It is flexible and fast to respond, making it very supportive of the CCA’s mandate and responsibilities. This is a crucial value in fast-changing times.

2030 WRG has brought great dynamism, responsiveness, and drive to the CCA. Our partnership has supported new strategic alliances, increased the CCA’s engagement level on policy and institutional reform, strengthened our technical competence, and expanded our organizational and financial capabilities. We at the CCA appreciate the strategic, technical, and financial support that 2030 WRG provides.

2030 WRG: How can MSPs become more sustainable?

VL: An MSP can only be sustainable if it is responsive and relevant. The CCA needs to keep evolving to address the contextual challenges that affect the Mexican water polity and MSP. Innovation is key to this; the CCA has to continue enabling social learning and different forms of collaborative governance. It also needs to maintain its autonomy, neutrality, and science-based interventions; continue to democratize and thus become more inclusive and representative; and find a way to become more financially robust, diversifying its funding sources.

If society does not pressure governments to address water challenges in a more steadfast and timely manner, governments simply will not allocate political and financial resources to address them. This is why the CCA launched the Social Pact for Water.

To Revitalize Urban Rivers, We Must First Change the Way We Look at Them

In metropolitan areas of Brazil, inadequate coverage of sewage collection and treatment infrastructures is the biggest cause for the widespread pollution of urban rivers, streams, and lakes. Many of the watercourses that cut through urban areas eventually turn into sewage channels that run on the surface or under the ground. Besides that, due to inadequate public services and a general lack of awareness among the population about proper waste disposal, river channels and rainwater pipes have also become receptacles for all kinds of solid waste. Polluted and smelly, urban watercourses and riverbanks have become abandoned spaces that are closed off to the public.

When it comes to urban water drainage, policies in Brazil have historically been focused on the channeling of rivers and streams to combat floods or reclaim land for urban expansion. Urban watercourses have been seen as elements that must either be tamed or exploited for urban development. But it is possible to adopt an alternative perspective—urban rivers as elements that could be used to enhance environmental quality, urban landscape, and quality of life, as well as public awareness on environmental and water and sanitation issues.

Although such a perspective is slowing gaining recognition, public institutions responsible for managing cities are still deeply entrenched in a culture that is characterized by sector-segmented visions, objectives, and funds that favor existing engineering solutions and immediate pragmatism. Urban design and environmental sanitation are but afterthoughts.  If public institutions were to rethink their priorities and funding for urban water drainage and redesign institutional responsibilities, urban rivers and streams that are currently degraded could actually become healthy and attractive public open spaces.

Working off this idea, Brazil 2030 WRG began to champion the revitalization of the Anhanguera creek, which runs through underground drainage pipes in downtown São Paulo and has relatively good water quality. These drainage pipes are also old and damaged and are no longer able to support increased storm water flows, leading to frequent flooding in the area. To revitalize the creek and its surrounding area, Brazil 2030 WRG’s proposal calls for the cleanup of a portion of the creek’s water so that it could flow above ground and become part of the urban landscape.

Accordingly, Brazil 2030 WRG set up a working group to discuss the project and mobilize the first set of stakeholders, including: (i) Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo (SABESP), which is the state sanitation company that is responsible for sewage collection and treatment in the city of São Paulo; (ii) the City Government, which is responsible for urban planning and the management of drainage systems and solid waste collection and disposal; and (iii) representatives of the surrounding communities, including residents, architects that work on the neighborhood, and users of a public square and a public library. Further down the line, the working group plans to engage with surrounding commercial establishments and encourage them to handle their solid waste in a more responsible manner. Because there are many homeless people in the proposed urban intervention area, the working group also plans to discuss ways to meet their basic sanitation needs.

The working group has discussed the fundamental topics for the revitalization project, including the integration of drainage, sewage collection and solid waste management; the use of water above ground as an urban asset; and the early participation of the community. Currently, we are seeking financial support for the project. If successful, this initiative could help change prevailing views of urban watercourses in São Paulo and serve as an example for other Brazilian cities.

The Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor: Is Latin America Facing a New Crisis Over Water Stress?

Featured Q&A


Chile and Mexico are among the countries in the world most susceptible to “water stress,” according to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, which the World Resources Institute updated last month. The index measures the amounts of water that irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw annually from their available supply, as well as the risk of drought and riverine floods in individual countries. What are the main challenges that Latin American countries face with regard to water—and why? How well are national, provincial and local governments handling water resources, and what should they be doing to better manage them? What role does the private sector play in managing water, and what more should it do?


Cesar Fonseca, regional coordinator for Latin America at 2030 Water Resources Group: “One of the most important bottlenecks in Latin America with regard to solving water security issues is the political system itself. It does not regard water issues as important, a situation that translates into declining budgets, continuous state retrenchment and a lack of enforcement capabilities. Another huge problem is the weak rule of law and corruption. On the side of civil society, lack of education and knowledge about water challenges is a problem. If society does not pressure governments to address water challenges in a more steadfast and timely manner, governments simply will not allocate political and financial resources to address them. Also problematic is the lack of a more enabling environment for innovation, not only technological innovation but also societal-institutional innovation. Businesses and governments need to move beyond the current “take, make/use and dispose” model of water use toward circular water economies, in which wastewater is transformed into a valuable resource that can be reused, recycled or repurposed. In Latin America, the 2030 Water Resources Group is currently working in Mexico, Peru and São Paulo, to address critical water challenges. Through our Multi-Stakeholder Platforms, we are able to drive collective action by key players that help drive policy reform and upstream engagement. These result in demonstrative pilot projects including greater private sector participation.

Read the full feature here »

Country Innovation Story | Mongolia: Strengthening Urban Water Management

Strengthening Urban Water Management

By Bulgan, General Director, Department of Green Policy and Strategic Planning, MET; and Mr. L. Erdenbulgan, Head of Water Resources Division, MET on behalf of the MSP members

The Challenge

Mongolia receives only 378 mm of rainfall annually, which is a mere fraction of a global average of 900 mm. The country also has limited surface water sources, making its management a critical aspect in supporting economic activity. The effects of water scarcity are felt exponentially in urban areas where growth is concentrated. This is especially so for Ulaanbaatar, which alone represents about 70 percent of total potable water consumption in the country. Limited treatment of wastewater and low water use efficiency further diminish water availability. Studies by 2030 WRG indicated that the city will likely face a water demand-supply gap by 2030, with industry bearing the brunt1. This will not only hurt companies that depend heavily on water for their businesses, but also the people whose livelihoods are tied to the operations of those companies.

The Solution

In response to this situation, 2030 WRG partnered with Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the private sector, and civil society stakeholders to initiate a series of integrated regulatory and governance interventions to improve urban water management. Instead of treating urban water management challenges as isolated issues, this series of interventions addressed key bottlenecks throughout the entire water value chain. Until then, there had been no attempts to use such a comprehensive approach to urban water management.

The first phase of work sought to improve urban water management issues through the Water Pollution Fee Law (WPFL). However, successful implementation remained elusive five years after the law was established. This was largely due to an overly complex model for estimating pollution charges, especially within a context of limited technical and implementation capacity. While the private sector supported WPFL in principle, it had serious concerns about its feasibility precisely because of such limitations.

To help the Mongolian government improve the implementation of WPFL, the Mongolia 2030 WRG team shared best practices from relevant countries, highlighting simple water pollution fee models that incorporate economic incentives for pollution reduction and employ a simpler methodology to measure pollution in wastewater discharge. Based on this exercise and extensive analysis of local data to inform applicable charges, a preferred model was identified and contextualized for Ulaanbaatar. Once agreed with the private sector, the model was embedded in a revised license and discharge permit for water use and wastewater discharge. This model would be applicable to all consumers in the city.

The second phase of work addressed the issue of low water use efficiency. While potential reuse of treated wastewater in large industry and power plants in Ulaanbaatar was recognized as an effective means of optimizing freshwater use, the lack of standards to support reuse had been a hurdle in implementation. Working closely with the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s office—and drawing upon established international practice—appropriate standards were proposed for large industrial water users that can potentially reduce their freshwater consumption by using treated wastewater. It is expected that the adoption of the WPFL will further promote the practice of water reuse among large water users such as power plants and beverage companies. It will also encourage them to treat wastewater on site for supply to willing off-takers, thereby avoiding not only network discharge fees, but also pollution fees. To complement the wastewater reuse measures, sector stakeholders have recently initiated a review of water tariffs, which is a key regulatory instrument to incentivize wastewater reuse and promote the judicious use of freshwater.

Progress to Date

The revised WPFL, which incorporates the proposed fee model, has been approved by a working group of Mongolia’s national cabinet. Adoption is expected to avoid discharge of over 61.2 million cubic meters of inadequately treated effluent into the Tuul river annually. Meanwhile, it has catalyzed innovation in small-scale onsite wastewater treatment systems. A model of institutional settings and engineering solutions that enables normal operation of wastewater treatment that is contextualized to Mongolia’s conditions is currently being piloted in the market. 

The Mongolian Agency for Standard and Metrology approved the “National Standards for Treated Wastewater Reuse” in June 2018, paving the way for the offtake of 50 million liters of treated wastewater daily from Ulaanbaatar’s central wastewater treatment facility, including wastewater from two nearby power plants. An investment of approximately US$300 million is planned for the development of infrastructure that will enable the reuse of wastewater for power plants.

Key Lessons

  • Adapting regulatory and governance instruments to locally relevant conditions can remove hurdles for the effective implementation of legislation and institutional systems necessary for effective urban water management. 
  • Alignment of incentives and a clear demonstration of impacts are key to driving implementation. 
  • Inclusive dialogue that involves the government at all relevant levels, the private sector, and civil society representatives are necessary for forging consensus on difficult and complex issues like building institutions and policies for effective urban water management.

Rapid Assessment of Greater Dhaka Groundwater Sustainability

Bangladesh Water Partnership (BWP) has been commissioned by the Bangladesh Water Multi-Stakeholder Partnership to conduct a rapid assessment of the groundwater sustainability of the Greater Dhaka Area. BWP is the country partnership of the Global Water Partnership Organization headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and in this regard, was supported by the 2030 WRG. This report has consolidated secondary information from various relevant studies and provides general estimations of groundwater resource availability, its challenges, and ways to overcome them to accommodate sectoral growth aspirations. This assessment was made possible from generous funding from H&M.

Read or download the full report »