The Blue Certificate initiative, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), and 2030 WRG, organized a meeting in Arequipa on June 29, 2018 to talk about the certification process. Members of the initiative also presented a few case studies that showcased companies that have already been awarded. The Blue Certificate initiative was launched in 2016 by the Peruvian government, with the help of 2030 WRG, to encourage businesses to measure and reduce their water footprint.
The Blue Certificate is officially recognized by the Peruvian National Water Authority (ANA) to companies who have fulfilled three criteria: 1) actively measure corporate footprint; 2) have created a water reduction plan for their operations; and 3) have developed a shared valued project for their surrounding communities.
More than 30 companies in Arequipa participated in the recent event that was co-chaired by the Chief of ANA, the SDC Director of Cooperation, and the 2030 WRG Latin America Regional Coordinator. Two members of the 2030 WRG Steering Committee, Mercedes Castro from Agualimpia and Julia Torreblanca from Cerro Verde, also attended the event. Two additional companies from Arequipa—Plastisur, a member of Mexichem Group, and Cerro Verde—expressed their interest in this certification process.
A second meeting was held in the region of Ica region on September 6, 2018 to present the certification process. More than 50 companies participated in the event. During this meeting, which was headed by the General Manager of ANA and the Regional Governor of Ica, Agrícola Don Ricardo expressed its interest in participating in the certification process.
So far, 13 companies have either received certification or are in the process of getting certified. ANA is expecting to save 79,000 cubic meters of water and reuse 137,000 cubic meters of wastewater per year through the Blue Certificate initiative. More than 1.3 million dollars will be invested by the companies involved in the certification process, benefiting 30,000 citizens. To amplify the impact of the Blue Certificate initiative, the Peruvian Government will work to expand the initiative to other regions in Peru.
This blog was written by Stela Goldenstein
Brazil 2030 WRG recently established a working group in the metropolitan area of Campinas. The goal was to identify potential opportunities for investments in new industrial reuse units that treat sewage from cities in this region. So far, the Water Basin Agency and the Water Basin Committees of the Piracicaba, Jundiaí and Capivari rivers basins have developed the most successful institutional model for water management. They have brought water users and water managers together to regulate, plan, and invest in projects aimed at improving water quality and quantity in the region.
A conurbation of four metropolises, which are located in the state of São Paulo in southeast Brazil, houses a population of almost 34 million inhabitants. Together, these four metropolises generate a significant portion of the country’s GDP. Their vibrant economies are highly interconnected, and there is constant movement of people, information, and products across these four metropolises. These four metropolises are also tied to each other in another way; although they are situated in different watersheds, they share their water supply.
The central metropolis is the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo. It has more than 21 million inhabitants and is installed at the headwaters of the River Tietê Basin. Despite the region’s immense water need, local water production is extremely low, and cannot meet the demands installed. Over the years, as the region expanded, more and more investments were poured into the region. To keep pace with the population growth and economic activities in the region, water was captured and transposed from nearby springs to the region.
As the regions—especially the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo—continue to grow, competition for water between their people and industries will only intensify. Climate change and poor water resources management further aggravate the situation. The resulting water stress is, arguably, the most serious systemic problem that the government and private sectors face in their planning processes.
Getting the water needed
Some will say that companies should be given priority because without water they need for their industrial productions, these companies will not be able to operate, and jobs will be lost. But technical and legal definitions define that public needs always deserve priority. The range of programs and investments needed to mitigate the conflict includes efforts to reduce the demands of water, as well as to adequate de offer, changing the standards for the supply and consumption of water.
Although industries need water for their production, they do not need high quality water that is safe enough for human consumption. Done right, final effluents from domestic sewage treatment plants operated by utility concessionaires should be of sufficient quality for industrial production. In other words, wastewater reuse by industries could play an important role in the effort to manage water scarcity in Brazil.
Sincere and open dialogue
The complexity and enormity of the task to manage water scarcity in Brazil call for an integrated and consistent set of actions and investments, including institutional framework adjustments, specific regulations, and innovative procedures to finance projects . For that to happen, there must be sincere and open dialogue between different spheres of government, between public and private institutions, and between utilities and municipalities, who are ultimately the grantors of water.
These stakeholders must discuss and come to an agreement on what they need to do to ensure sufficient reserves for potabilization. They also need to come an agreement about the scope and amount of investments needed to address the water needs of the population and the private sector in an equitable and sustainable manner.
As mentioned earlier, reusing wastewater for industrial production holds great promise to address water scarcity in Brazil. Unfortunately, there are currently only isolated cases of wastewater reuse by industries in Brazil. Up to now, there are still many institutional barriers that stand in the way of increased wastewater reuse by industries. For this reason, Brazil 2030 WRG is working with the government and private sector to overcome these barriers.
In a similar fashion, the state government and industries of the regional also established a working group. They recently organized a technical seminar to initiate the consultation process for all stakeholders involved. Cities, their utilities, the State sanitation services, the region’s water-consuming industries, the state environmental agency, and the federal government all participated in the process. If this trend continues, industrial reuse of effluents from sewage treatment plants may soon become the norm.
This effort begun with a technical seminar to initiate the consultation process for all stakeholders involved. Today, cities, their utilities, the State sanitation services, the region’s water-consuming industries, the state environmental agency, and the federal government all participate in the process. If this trend continues, industrial reuse of effluents from sewage treatment plants may soon become official policy and an opportunity.
Photo credit: Goodfreephotos.com
The Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh lies between the Yamuna River and the northern part of the Vindhyan ranges. It is spread over an area of 29,000 square kilometers and is home to 7.8 million people. It receives water from perennial rivers including the Yamuna, Ken, Betwa, Sindh, and Pahuj rivers. Over 75 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their primary livelihood, with 96 percent of the income generated from agriculture and livestock collectively.
The region, which was once known as the pulse bowl of India, is now facing the fourth successive drought in the last five years. The negative effects of these droughts weigh heavily on the backs of people living in this marginalized and economically disadvantaged region. Although billions of dollars have been pumped into Bundelkhand over the last decade, the water situation there has shown little to no improvement. Indeed, the average annual rainfall in Bundelkhand has plummeted by 40 percent over the last thirteen years, with 60 percent decline in rainfall happening in the last five years alone. The resulting acute water shortage has triggered mass migration; without water, many families in this predominantly agricultural region can no longer grow enough crops to sustain their livelihoods.
The situation seems grim, but fortunately history have a few lessons to teach about water resources management in Bundelkhand. During the 10th-17th century, the Chandelas and Bundelas—the two major dynasties in Bundelkhand—took keen interest in conserving water as a means of supporting livelihood and developing the region.
Since the terrain in Bundelkhand is rocky, which prohibits percolation and natural groundwater recharge, the Chandelas and Bundelas built networks of reservoirs that enabled quick recharge of shallow aquifers and ensured minimal run-off of rainwater. This network of reservoirs helped increase groundwater levels in the surrounding region and made it possible to build wells that serviced the needs of people in the region. Unfortunately, over time, urbanization, growing settlement, and poor management destroyed many of these reservoirs. The remaining ones fell into disrepair and were rendered useless.
To help the region better manage its water resources—particularly in the Bundelkhand region—the Government of Uttar Pradesh approached 2030 WRG for help. Using an integrated and participatory approach, 2030 WRG facilitated a formal state-level multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP) to develop initiatives targeted at improving watersheds and reservoirs, increasing on-farm efficiency through improved agriculture and irrigation practices, and developing market linkages to increase agricultural production.
Recently, at the request of the state administration, 2030WRG commissioned a comprehensive mapping of water reservoirs in the Jhansi District of Bundelkhand. The study uncovered an encouraging fact—with proper restoration, the storage capacity of reservoirs in the region can be increased by five folds.
Based on the mapping analysis, 2030 WRG is now developing a project to integrate resources and initiatives from government, private sector, philanthropic foundations, and civil society. This project aims to rejuvenate water reservoirs in Bundelkhand, starting with the Jhansi District. The plan is to scale up this initiative to include all seven districts in Bundelkhand. When completed, these reservoirs would enable storage of surface water for dry seasons and recharge aquifers and nearby drinking water sources. With the support of it stakeholders, the MSP is now one step closer to addressing Bundelkhand’s water challenge.
On June 26, 2018, Consejo Consultivo del Agua (CCA)—Mexico’s Water Advisory Council’s—convened the Water Security and Legal Certainty Thematic Committee with the support of 2030 WRG and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
This participatory workshop was part of the committee’s activities and had several ambitious objectives: (i) share the initial diagnosis of the Mexican water allocation regime; (ii) enable a dialogue on the challenges and prospects for strengthening and modernizing the Mexican water allocation regime; (iii) review the problems that the private sector commonly faces when interacting with the regime; (iv) better understand the private sector’s perspectives about water risk management and water stewardship, and learn about their strategies to manage risks; and (v) identify barriers and opportunities to create an enabling environment for better water stewardship in Mexico.
Workshop participants hailed from a variety of sectors. Representatives from the private sector included Arca Continental, Coca-Cola, Constellation Brands, Femsa Foundation, Peñoles Mining Group, Grupo Modelo, AB InBev, Heineken, Nestlé, Rotoplas, and Suez. Other participants included the Toluca Valley Business Council (CEVAT), the Commission for Sustainable Development (CESPEDES); AFD (France’s development agency, Conservation International, and the World Wild Fund.
During the workshop, the President of CCA, Dr. Victor Lichtinger, emphasized the need to strengthen the Mexican water allocation regime’s capacity to provide greater legal certainty to stakeholders, thus creating a more enabling environment for private sector investments and economic growth. CESPEDES’s Executive Director, José Ramón Ardavin mentioned that the water allocation regime plays a central role in managing Mexico’s water resources, and reminded the audience that the private sector can play a big role in encouraging the government to take the necessary steps to improve water stewardship in Mexico. During the workshop, Coca-Cola, Fresnillo Mining Group, and Nestle gave presentations about their water stewardship strategies, setting the stage for a productive discussion about ways to improve water stewardship in Mexico. The outcomes of the workshop, including some initial policy recommendations and next steps, are included in the workshop report.
The Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN) working group on Effluent and Waste Water Management (EWWM) has set its sights on improving municipal wastewater treatment and reuse in South Africa.
Municipal reuse is gaining increased attention from policy-makers and there are plans to increase its contribution to the country’s water supply mix. The draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan shows that the ideal water supply mix would see a nearly 3% increase of reuse contribution to total water supply: from 1,319 million m3/a (about 9,5 % of total supply) in 2015 to 1,907 million m3/a (about 12% of a much-increased yield) in 2030.
The plan points to a huge scope for developing reuse in large towns and cities where suitable treatment technology is already employed; where there are adequate skills for operation of high tech equipment; and where city size makes reuse financially viable. This is especially relevant in coastal cities where wastewater is discharged to sea and “lost” from the system.
“Against the backdrop of decreasing freshwater availability and increasing water demands, municipal water reuse holds tremendous potential for alleviating some of the pressure on South Africa’s water resources” said Mr. Nandha Govender, Chairman of the Effluent and Waste Water Management working group.
The SWPN aims to catalyze public private collaboration for municipal wastewater treatment and reuse. The EWWM working group is considering the following options:
- Reconnaissance to identify municipalities where large water-using private sector actors can be off-takers for treated municipal wastewater thereby making projects for works upgrades or new builds financially viable. Opportunities that offer prospects for ancillary revenue streams or revenue enhancement through energy recovery and generation being the most attractive.
- Capacity building initiatives that would feature the use of private sector wastewater treatment plants for hands-on training opportunities targeting municipal officials.
- Support for the expansion of the financing market for wastewater treatment and reuse through market research and stakeholder engagement. This work has already started with preliminary results showing a funding gap of up to USD 970 million in the next three years.
From reconnaissance to construction
With these and other activities, a water resources development project pipeline funnel – from reconnaissance to construction – developed by the Department of Water Sanitation could be expanded and accelerated. The current funnel shows that investigations of direct re-use opportunities are underway for a total capacity of about 280 million m3/a (just over 10% of the projected water gap of 2.7 billion m3/a by 2030). Of this total capacity, feasibility studies are underway for 125 m3/a.
Other reports have shown an even greater capacity at pre-feasibility and feasibility stage by municipalities and other institutions, underscoring the need for a renewed focus on the underexploited resource.
The EWWN seeks to address the issue of mining impacts on the water supply in South Africa. The focus of the working group is on coordinating private and public sector players to optimize the utilization of treated effluent and waste water. The working group recognizes the effect that mining activities have on the country’s water resources and quality and believes that mine water treatment can be expanded or improved to increase water security in South Africa.
By spearheading the development of standards based on best practices of wastewater treatment, recycling, and reuse, Mongolia 2030 WRG partnership provided the Government of Mongolia with a critical tool to implement key national priorities and policies, including the national water program and the policy on Green Development.
The 2030 WRG program in Mongolia is currently developing two projects—one in Ulaanbaatar, where many factories are located, and the other in the South Gobi Desert, which is the heart of Mongolia’s mining industry—to support the implementation of the recently-approved standards on wastewater reuse. The projects will demonstrate the benefits of adopting the new standards and inspire more widespread adoption by the private sector.
Groundwater is the source of approximately 80 percent of Mongolia’s water consumption. Increasing water consumption—driven by rapid urban population increase and economic—is severely taxing Mongolia’s ground water supply. Human activities, including manufacturing and mining, pollute existing ground water, further depleting available water resources. Left unchecked, Mongolia will most likely face a 50-percent water shortfall by 2030. Mongolia is in need of a paradigm shift.
Although the Mongolian government introduced several laws and guidelines targeted at preserving water resources through integrated water resources management, such regulations were ineffective in curbing water pollution and promoting wastewater treatment and reuse. Implementation of wastewater reuse was also weak due to an underdeveloped legislative environment and the lack of knowledge in global best practices.
It was against this backdrop that the Mongolia 2030 WRG team initiated a workstream, with the help of the Government of Mongolia, to improve the legal environment for wastewater treatment and reuse in Mongolia. The team’s goal was to develop draft standards for treated wastewater reuse based on international best practices.
This was an ambitious goal given the fact that developing each standard for any given water reuse application requires an iterative process that involves careful review of existing and proposed standards in Mongolia, and consultations with various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, large industrial units, industry associations, and civil society. These steps are followed by the identification of water quality parameters relevant for industrial wastewater (effluent). Only then would a draft standard be prepared. The draft standard would then be made available to relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as in civil society for their feedback. Finally, the draft would have be officially submitted to the government at two levels, namely the Mongolian Technical Committee of Environmental Standards and the Mongolian Technical Committee of Standardization and Measurement.
Despite the arduous process, Mongolia 2030 WRG managed to develop and submit a draft for the Technical Requirements of Treated Wastewater Reuse Standards for official review. On June 15, 2018, the Mongolian Technical Committee of Environmental Standards approved the draft. Shortly after, on June 21, 2019, the Mongolian National Technical Committee on Standardization endorsed it.
On June 20, 2018, Consejo Consultivo del Agua (CCA), Mexico’s Water Advisory Council, held a general assembly meeting. During the event, CCA’s President, Dr. Jesus Reyes Heroles, presented CCA’s annual activity report, and talked about several initiatives carried out by CCA. In particular, Dr. Reyes Heroles highlighted and acknowledged CCA’s cooperation with 2030 WRG. Dr. Reyes Heroles also took the opportunity to introduce his successor, Dr. Victor Lichtinger.
As part of his new mandate as CCA’s President, Dr. Lichtinger will be working to strengthen CCA’s work as an independent multi-stakeholder platform that was established in 2000 to support the Mexican government’s initiatives for sustainable water resources management and water security. Dr. Lichtinger was the former Secretary of State for Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources. He was also the General Coordinator of Environmental Affairs under the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the Executive Director of NAFTA’s Environmental Cooperation Commission. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Lichtinger had acted as an environmental consultant for the public and private sectors, as well as various international organizations.
Also in attendance at the event was Mr. Roberto Ramírez de la Parra, the General Director of the National Water Commission (CONAGUAs). Mr. Roberto Ramírez de la Parra congratulated Dr. Reyes Heroles on CCA’s achievements, and announced CCA’s integration into CONAGUA as a permanent member of CONAGUAs Technical Committee. Mr. Ary Naim, Head of IFC in Mexico, also attended the event as a special invitee.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE) hosted the first Joint Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) – Water Resource Management (WRM) Multi Stakeholder Forum in Addis Ababa on June 11 and 12, 2018.
The event was attended by representatives from national, regional and local government agencies in Ethiopia, the United Nations, development partners, civil society, private sector, and academia. The cross-sectoral guest list was a testament to the government’s commitment to an inclusive multi-stakeholder strategy to address its water challenges.
During a session chaired by Ato Abraham, MoWIE’s State Minister for Water Resource Management, the National Planning Commission (NPC) and 2030 WRG, jointly presented the findings of a hydro-economic analysis (HEA). The research team delivered a sobering fact—nearly all of Ethiopia’s basins are at risk of extreme water stress by 2030.
Early Findings Indicate Extreme Water Stress by 2030
Although the findings of the technical analysis indicate that most of Ethiopia’s basins currently experience low to moderate water stress, the research team cautioned that figures aggregated to the annual and basin-level scale can obscure more severe water stress that could be triggered by factors such as seasonality of demand, variability of supply, and a mismatch between water demand and supply. Indeed, despite a positive total water balance, the majority of Ethiopia’s twelve basins have water demand profiles that do not match supply distribution, leading to shortages as the spatial distribution of rainfall continues to change.
Many water basins, particularly those along the southern and eastern edges of the country, have populations that are highly sensitive to any water stress.
Looking ahead, Ethiopia’s growing population and economy, in combination with climate change, the depletion of groundwater reserves, and pollution of surface water will likely increase water demand and reduce supply. Without adequate and timely intervention by the public and private sectors, existing risks will most likely escalate.
The implications of the analysis’ findings support the government’s messaging around the joint-conference—the cross-cutting nature of Ethiopia’s water challenges will require an integrated approach that involves actors from different sectors. The findings will feed into the 15-year perspective planning for Ethiopia, which aims to set the direction for the national policy towards 2030. This planning process is being led by NPC, and will be jointly implemented by several relevant line-ministries.
Mobilizing Support for Coordinated Action
To support the government of Ethiopia’s perspective planning exercise, the Ethiopia 2030 WRG team has been actively working to mobilize private, public, and civil society partners behind the inclusive vision set by the government, which aligns perfectly with 2030 WRG’s vision of sufficient safe water to support the needs of Ethiopia’s people, ecosystems, and economy.
To complement the government-led Water Resource Management Joint Technical Review (WRM-JTR) process that aims to develop a clear and common agenda for Ethiopia’s water resources sector, 2030 WRG is collaborating with NPC on leveraging the HEA process to convene stakeholders and drive engagement in parallel.
In addition to its role as active participants for the water quality and ground water work-stream under the joint technical review, Ethiopia 2030 WRG is convening key stakeholders from the private and public sectors to review preliminary findings from the HEA and begin the process of narrowing potential deep dive topics. The team has already held its second round of advisory group meetings with government and corporate stakeholders and anticipates their active participation in upcoming deep-dive meetings.
The sessions were well-attended and the attendees actively debated the merits of the topics presented for a deep dive analysis as part of the HEA. An online survey has been sent out to decide on the deep dive areas. Decisions will be made based on: i) impact in closing water demand-supply gap; and ii) expressed leadership by advisory group members. Both advisory groups agreed to take some time to review 2030 WRG’s proposals and will reconvene in August.
Regional teams from 2030 WRG in Africa and the World Bank Water Global Practice gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for its Africa Learning Week event in May, 2018. The goal was to share knowledge and lay the foundations of collaboration necessary to deliver on the promise of sustainability at scale.
The joint-learning event— hosted by the Water GP—marked the first time that regional practitioners from both 2030 WRG and the Water GP convened since 2030 WRG’s transition from IFC to the Water GP in January 2018. For 2030 WRG’s Africa team, the event was an opportunity to introduce Water GP colleagues to its ongoing engagements in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. The event also allowed the team to showcase Africa 2030 WRG’s capacity to convene diverse partners necessary to co-develop effective public-private solutions.
“The threats of water scarcity are urgent and real. For the people who have dedicated themselves to delivering on the goal of global water security, the scale of the task at hand can be daunting. Events like this give them the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other. Perhaps more importantly, such events also give them the opportunity to witness the momentum and drive behind their shared vision,” said Karin Krchnak, 2030 WRG’s Program Manager.
Throughout the week, participants identified numerous areas of potential collaboration that hold promise for delivering outsized impact. Ideas that surfaced during the event include piloting innovative technologies—through existing water stewardship platforms established by 2030 WRG— to address enforcement challenges, scaling up farmer-led irrigation initiatives, and leveraging partnerships for the delivery of new catchment and watershed management initiatives.
Kenya 2030 WRG’s experience in crowding-in private sector participation in farmer-led irrigation featured prominently in several sessions on private sector participation in irrigation development. Kenya 2030 WRG’s convening power will no doubt open doors to greater cooperation in this area.
In her keynote presentation on Water GP’s Africa Strategy, Director Jennifer Sara recognized the instrumentality of 2030 WRG in shaping the evolution of the World Bank Group’s water agenda going forward. Her message spoke directly to the focus of 2030 WRG’s leadership on leveraging partnerships to develop commercial financing solutions that not only reach the poor effectively, but are also environmentally and socially inclusive and sustainable.
Africa 2030 WRG teams returned from the event eager to build on their freshly-acquired knowledge, as well as the spirit of collaboration forged during the week to harness partnership opportunities for greater scale and impact.
In April 2018, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) signed an MOU with 2030 WRG to jointly promote private sector-driven collaboration to tackle the threat of industrial water insecurity in Karnataka.
Karnataka has one of the most dynamic economies in India. Not only is Karnataka the manufacturing hub for some of India’s largest public-sector industries, and it is also home to some of India’s most prestigious science and technology research centers. Notably, Bangalore, Karnataka’s capital, has earned the title of the Silicon Valley of India due to the concentration of information technology companies there. Although, Karnataka’s booming economy means better livelihoods for its population, a booming economy is also expected to aggravate the competition for scarce water resources among companies operating there.
The looming threat of industrial water insecurity is not lost on the private sector. In April 2018, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) signed an MOU with 2030 WRG to jointly promote private sector-driven collaboration to tackle this challenge through a combination of new programmatic approaches, partnership models, financing mechanisms, and policy interventions.
To kick off this joint venture, the WBCSD-2030 WRG team conducted multi-stakeholder meetings to identify some key objectives, including:
- Improve adoption of circular water management approaches by industries
- Increase data sharing and use
- Develop benchmarks for efficient and sustainable industrial water use
- Provide guidance for industrial water-use tracking and valuation of water
- Develop synergies and cross-sectoral collaboration for wastewater reuse at the industry-urban, and industry-agriculture levels
- Develop new programmatic approaches for Industrial wastewater management and common effluent treatment plants
- Promote knowledge sharing and development of policy instruments for creating an enabling environment for water use and wastewater management in the state
Following the first multi-stakeholder workstream meeting on this topic in Karnataka on May 24, 2018, initial themes prioritized through task forces include: (a) circular water management in industrial clusters and cross-sectoral collaboration (municipal-industry-agriculture) for integrated approaches to wastewater management; and (b) enabling environment including policy and governance for promoting improved management of industrial water.
Both priorities build upon the Urban Wastewater Reuse Policy that was developed by 2030 WRG—and approved by the Karnataka state cabinet in December 2017—as well as 2030 WRG’s hydro-economic analysis on urban-industrial sectors. The aim is to develop the right mix of practical solutions, including behavioral, technical, and financing options. The task forces will interact and interface with the various industries and implementing agencies in Karnataka to develop action plans to solve water management challenges in Karnataka.
Photo credits: Satvik Shahapur from Pexels