World Water Week 2020 has been held online this year with virtual adaptations of all sessions. The theme for WWWeek At Home this year was ‘Accelerate Action on Climate Change’ and ran 24-28 August, 2020. Thanks to all of you who were able to join the sessions and engage with us on important topics. Please see below recordings of our Water Week sessions.
50L HOMES AND THE FUTURE OF URBAN WATER & ENERGY
This session was a call to action to the global water community to engage in the 50L Home Coalition, a multi-stakeholder collaboration launched later in 2020. The session introduces the rationale and objectives of the Coalition and identified key areas for collaboration that lead to water and energy efficiency in the home. Read more >>
BUILDING RESILIENCE AT ALL LEVELS – FROM LOCAL TO NATIONAL
With a largely urbanized population, Brazil faces unresolved historical social and infrastructure deficits, resulting in precarious urbanization territories. Especially in big cities, old challenges, as insufficient fresh water reserves, incomplete water distribution and sewage treatment, pollution of water sources, are aggravated by climate change, demanding new policies towards water security. Read more >>
NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS WATER SCARCITY DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
The session focused the dialogue around the central role that NBS plays to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), highlighting the social, economic and environmental co-benefits. Participants discussed the contributions of NBS to improve water security and create resilience in a future scenario of water scarcity. Read more >>
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER COOPERATION TO LEVERAGE THE SDG6 IN THE BUSINESS AGENDA
The session discussed the link between climate change and its impact on WASH. The session brought together representatives from various countries to discuss impacts of access to water and sanitation that they are facing due to climate change. Read more >>
Washington DC, July, 2020 – Unilever has joined the 2030 Water Resources Group, a multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank Group, to support 2030 WRG activities globally and in its country programs. The collaboration will focus on strengthening multi-stakeholder collaboration between public, private, and civil society actors on sustainable water resources management.
By 2030, demand for water is expected to exceed freshwater supply by 40%. Due to a lack of adequate infrastructure 1 in 3 people lack safe drinking water, while over half of the global population lack safe sanitation, and 80% of the world’s wastewater is not treated. Handwashing is critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but nearly 40% percent of the world’s population—lack basic handwashing facilities. Leadership and strong partnerships are needed for long term social and economic recovery that focus on sustainable water resources management.
Tackling the water scarcity challenge, that is exacerbated by climate change, requires collective action. Unilever sees long-term growth concurrently with reducing the company’s environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact.
Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope, will join 2030 WRG corporate, public, and civil society partners at the Global Governing Council and Steering Board levels. The company can also directly interact with any of the active multi-stakeholder platforms in 14 countries/states where the trust fund is currently present.
“We all know water is critical for lives and livelihoods; yet we are wasting it, polluting it, and taking it for granted. We need collective action to solve a water crisis that is wreaking havoc in villages, towns and cities across our planet. Unilever is stepping up its action on water and we look forward to working with the 2030 Water Resources Group for bigger, broader impact.” said Alan.
“The 2030 Water Resources Group is committed to facilitating public-private collaboration to drive resilient economies and societies. We have an opportunity to be part of the current regenerative business movement that has a focus on systems thinking to protect, restore and replenish both human capital and natural resources. It is now more critical than ever for stakeholders to join forces to advance water security outcomes. We are delighted to welcome Unilever as a global 2030 WRG partner, with its core commitment to the principles of water sustainability, equitable access and livelihood security,” said World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development, and 2030 WRG Governing Council Co-Chair Juergen Voegele.
“In the context of growing uncertainties in the world economy and escalating resource constraints, the private sector has a unique role to play in catalyzing innovation, facilitating sustainable delivery models, and serving as an agent of systemic change. Together with the public sector and civil society, companies can drive transformative leadership in the way water resources are managed. Unilever’s commitment to join 2030 Water Resources Group builds on its legacy of accelerating environmental and social sustainability across its value chains and consumer base. We very much look forward to Unilever’s engagement in 2030 Water Resources Group to provide a joint impetus to the global resilience and water security agenda,” said Nestlé Chairman of the Board and Co-Chair of the 2030 WRG Governing Council Paul Bulcke.
Unilever has recently already been collaborating with 2030 WRG in Bangladesh, with the help of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Deputy Commissioner’s offices in 64 districts, supplying drinking water to all hospitals designated for COVID-19 in Dhaka, and conducting a nationwide WASH public education campaign to reach 20 million people.
About the 2030 Water Resources Group
2030 WRG is a public, private, civil society partnership that supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources. The trust fund engages stakeholder groups through structured, action-oriented platforms in-country, which have already mobilized close to $1 billion since inception in water security responses. See more: www.2030wrg.org www.twitter.com/2030WRG #2030WRG
Read Unilever’s commitment to sustainable development
Unilever sets out new actions to fight climate change, and protect and regenerate nature, to preserve resources for future generations
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Alida Pham, 2030 Water Resources Group
External Relations Officer
With “Day Zero” looming over cities across the globe, rapid innovation is needed to make water use more sustainable. The “50L Home Coalition” is a public-private initiative, formed with the support of the World Economic Forum (the Forum), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and 2030 Water Resources Group.
Currently, average water use in developed countries can be as high as 500 liter per person. This initiative seeks to positively disrupt urban domestic water use and facilitate circular economy solutions, making 50 liter feel like 500 liter. The 50L Home coalition seeks to engage a broad set of partners to develop technical solutions, identify policy reforms and create conditions for an ecosystem of innovation. The coalition aims to launch pilot projects in 2 to 4 cities over 2020-2023. It fosters collaboration in the key areas of innovation, implementation, regulation and education.
2030 WRG’s engagement is geared towards the development of City-based Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs), developing an action agenda around water conservation and water re-use at the city scale.
Unilever Bangladesh with Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the 2030 Water Resources group are collaborating to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) offices in 64 districts that are still operating under these circumstances.
The Deputy Commissioner’s offices are the focal government agencies which coordinate disaster response operations. During the lockdown period, DC offices remain open to provide necessary services to the people and have been playing a critical role to control the contamination.
Unilever Bangladesh already pledged BDT 200 million [approx. $2.4 million] to help the nation in its fight against COVID-19. The commitment includes measures such as product donations, creating awareness, improving health infrastructure, protecting its people and livelihoods. This initiative, of working with DC offices is part of UBL’s larger commitment to combat Covid-19.
Under this collaboration, the overall WASH spectrum will be improved by installing hand washing stations at the entrance of each DC office, with added support for disinfection of office compounds, improved sanitation and safe drinking water facility across 64 districts.
The initiative will also provide access to Unilever’s hygiene products, Lifebuoy Domex and Pureit in 64 Deputy Commissioner’s offices along with spray machines and the appropriate disinfecting materials.
Through this collaboration DC office employees will be trained on how to run regular disinfection activities and inform office visitors on hygienic protocols to stay safe during this pandemic.
In addition, lifesaving messages will be disseminated in all 64 district towns to provide public with information required to tackle the current pandemic. This overarching initiative will help to raise awareness and carry out messages designed by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The country’s largest humanitarian organization, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) will lead the implementation across 64 districts and DC offices on the disinfecting activities.
The Directorate General of Health Services and the Cabinet Division of the Bangladesh government have supported this initiative and given their approval on conducting the activities across the nation which is scheduled to continue until the end of May.
Prof Dr Md Habibe Millat, MP, Vice Chairman of Bangladesh Red Crescent said “We need multi-sectorial collaboration to tackle the humanitarian crisis of this scale and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is supporting Bangladesh government in COVID19 response to save lives and to create alertness among people regarding the infection. We are happy that Unilever Bangladesh and 2030 WRG joined us to prevent and control this pandemic”
Kedar Lele, CEO, Unilever Bangladesh Limited, “Our commitment towards the nation remains strong as ever. This is the time when our front-line workers need our support including the government offices. Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) offices stand as one of the vulnerable spots as hundreds of people access these offices on a regular basis.
Through our brands, Lifebuoy, Domex and Pureit we aim to improve the overall WASH spectrum and influence the Hygiene Behavior to stop the spread of the virus. Our collaboration with BDRCS and the 2030 Water Resources Group will have a stronger impact on the citizens and will provide the confidence to keep moving forward against this wall of uncertainty. ”
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
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:
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.
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.
See some photos of the visit in below gallery >>
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.
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.
No value chain is stronger than its weakest link, and this is particularly true for the water sector – the value chain consisting of upstream supply chain, operations and downstream product use. But can a weak link be strengthened through partnerships? This is the question that guided the discussions of over 150 senior leaders from the water sector at the 5th Annual Water Stewardship Event which took place last week at the Crowne Plaza – Rosebank, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event – hosted by the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN), the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS), the National Business Initiative (NBI), and the Royal Danish Embassy – explored strategies to further develop and test alternative water management and water delivery solutions to overcome some of the nation’s most pernicious water challenges and help meet the nation’s water service objectives.
According to the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan only 65 percent of South Africans have access to safe and reliable water services and 14.1 million people lack access to decent sanitation. Moreover, the South African water sector struggles with financial challenges and capacity restrictions, constraining its ability to bridge the service delivery gap. A lack of investment in South Africa’s water infrastructure and maintenance has resulted in 56 percent of South Africa’s 1,150 wastewater treatment works and 44 percent of domestic water treatment works being categorised as being in poor or critical condition in need of urgent rehabilitation. The financing gap is partly explained by the fact that 41 percent of municipal water does not generate any revenue. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) estimates that it will take R33 billion each year for the next 10 years to achieve water security, yet the budget for DWS is R15.5 billion – less than half of what is required.
The National Water and Sanitation Master Plan provides strong support and clear direction for the development of alternative, multi-partners service delivery solutions, stating that a “turn-around towards financial sustainability is not optional.” To overcome the sector’s challenges and meet water service delivery objectives, concerted efforts are required, and holistic and inclusive solutions are urgently needed from both the public and the private sector.
Speakers at the 5th Annual Water Stewardship Event presented transformative initiatives that exemplify how non-traditional actors are spearheading new models of collaboration. Moving forward, such approaches could be the key to unlocking new financing and overcoming the most obstinate obstacles to delivering reliable and equitable water and sanitation services to all South Africans. Discussions focused on three key approaches that demonstrated significant potential for impact and scale: public-private-partnerships, community and catchment-based approaches, and corporate water stewardship.
Public-private partnerships, or PPPs as they are commonly known, are long-term contracts between the public and private sector that require risk transfer to the private party. Beyond the normal functions that the private sector might take on, such as design and construction, PPPs extend into areas such as project financing, staffing, and the operation of specific assets. They are increasingly becoming a popular tool amongst public service organisations to secure efficient delivery and accessibility to public goods. Opportunities for deploying PPPs within the water value chain abound, and include, among others, desalination, any form of water reuse, groundwater extraction, and wastewater treatment.
There are three main categories of benefits that municipalities can leverage by deploying a PPP model, said Dhevan Govender, Senior Commercial and Business Manager with eThekwini Municipality, where a number of PPP projects are underway. “PPPs are the way to go to improve access to basic services, increase quality and efficiency of services, and mobilise capital,” said Govender, “the public sector has the vision, and the private sector has the technology and capital, and PPPs enable us to leverage that to deliver sustainable projects.”
Community-owned water solutions and catchment-based partnerships are another type of collaborative approach being successfully implemented across South Africa. While the specifics of each partnership may vary, they all incorporate some form of collaboration between communities, companies, and municipalities, sometimes at a river catchment scale, delivering a range of environmental, social and economic benefits and protecting precious water environments for the benefit of all.
Corporate water stewardship, which used to largely exist on the sidelines of business operations, has evolved significantly over the past decade from the realm of corporate social reasonability and emerged as a proven alternative model to address water security challenges beyond the fence line of a company’s operations. Given the realities of a warming climate and rapidly growing and urbanizing population, companies are being forced to think very hard about the context in which they operate.
“It has now become a business imperative for us” explained Nicole Solomon, Head of Corporate Social Development with AECI, a corporate partner of the Wise Wayz Water Initiative, a community-based programme that works with fence line communities in eThekwini to leverage clean, secure, and reliable water into livelihood opportunities.
Alternative water management and water delivery solutions that were experimental just a few years ago have today shown tremendous potential to address the country’s water challenges. Looking ahead, there is a need to take the lessons learned form these successful initiatives and move from demonstration to scale.
“The scale of the crisis we face today is unprecedented, but it is a collective crisis, meaning that the consequences of inaction will affect us all” said the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Chief Director for Regulations, Ndileka Mohapi. “Partnership is therefore of the utmost importance, and I would like to ensure that we move together to take the opportunity to work together as partners to leverage the full scale of benefits available to us to overcome this shared challenge.”
The SWPN is part of the 2030 WRG network of country partnerships and is a multi-stakeholder collaboration addressing South Africa’s most pressing water issues: improving water efficiency and reducing leakage, managing effluent and wastewater management, and managing agricultural and supply-chain water.
New York, September 2019 – The 2030 WRG Governing Council met in New York, during the World Economic Forum Sustainability Impact Summit, to discuss global water security trends and the impact and contribution of the work around the globe. Co-chairs Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank and Paul Bulcke, Chairman of the Board of Nestlé, led the council members through a vibrant discussion on global water resources management challenges and the 2030 WRG value-add to address these issues.
The meeting was also an opportunity for Governing Council members to be brought up to speed on recent developments and future priorities. They learned about the World Bank new Strategic Action Plan on Water, the new report Quality Unkown on water quality and the close alignment of the World Bank Water agenda with 2030 WRG objectives.
The GC heard firsthand from senior officials from the Government of Bangladesh how committed they are in providing leadership in the country Multi-Stakeholder Platform. There is great interest in finding cross-cutting effective long-term solutions to the water security issues in the country through the platform. As Bangladesh is taking a leading role in the Valuing Water Initiative, concretizing a methodology to calculate the shadow price for water, involving private sector champions, this could provide learnings for other country platforms.
The Governing Council members agreed and were supportive of the suggestion to structure the work of 2030 WRG country MSPs into three thematic leadership areas: Transforming Value Chains, Promoting Circular Economies, and Advancing Resilience Planning. Common water resources management challenges were identified around these thematic areas in various sectors, including in agriculture, industrial and urban/municipal water management, and the strategic plan aims to deliver improved solutions and impacts around these themes.
Support was given to the secretariat to cautiously scope into more geographies. There was an emphasis on raising funds to ensure the continuation of core operations and to explore more deeply in existing engagements and find opportunities to explore city-based MSPs. It was also agreed that the secretariat will look at existing initiatives and platforms in country/states to not duplicate efforts, but rather maximize efficiencies.