Corporate News

Mexico’s Water Advisory Council Leads Effort to Strengthen Water Allocation Regime

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.

Water flowing at a waste water treatment facility.

SWPN promotes public-private collaboration in wastewater treatment and reuse

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Capacity building initiatives that would feature the use of private sector wastewater treatment plants for hands-on training opportunities targeting municipal officials.
  3. 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.

2030 WRG Pushes for Adoption of Wastewater Reuse Standards in Mongolia

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.







Mexico’s Water Advisory Council Welcomes Victor Lichtinger as New President

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.


Joint Study Mobilizes Action to Counter Water Stress in Ethiopia

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.


Like Water, Knowledge That Flows Stay Fresh

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.

2030 WRG Signs MOU with WBCSD for Private Sector-Driven Collaboration in Karnataka

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

Water Inventory Exercise by Kilimanjaro Water Stewardship Platform Reaps Huge Returns

A water inventory exercise carried out by the Kilimanjaro Water Stewardship Platform (KWSP) in the Usa-River sub-catchment within the Pangani Basin—one of Tanzania’s most agriculturally productive areas and an important hydropower production region, yielded shocking results. Through this exercise, a Catchment Stewardship platform established by Tanzania 2030 WRG, discovered that 62 percent of water abstractions in the area were illegal. Furthermore, 10 percent of water users there held expired permits, and 52 percent lacked any permit whatsoever. Meanwhile, only 58 percent of registered users paid their dues.

With such meager income, it is difficult for Basin Water Boards (BWB), the Water Resources Management Authority responsible for enforcement of water resources management regulation and ensuring effective stakeholder collaboration and engagement, to carry out its mandated activities, including maintaining a registry of water users and reviewing water permits every five years. Its inability to perform such key functions directly undermines its means to secure much-needed income, and traps it in a vicious cycle. 

This inventory exercise—which was jointly carried out by the Pangani BWB in collaboration with the International Water Stewardship Program (IWaSP) and the local Water Users Association under the Catchment Management and Restoration Workgroup of the KWSP—was a much-needed first step to help BWB work its way out of that vicious cycle. Not only did the exercise uncover important insights about BWB’s users, it also gave BWB a valuable tool to raise awareness among water users about their responsibility to BWB. Specifically, the exercise gave BWB the opportunity to educate many users who were found to be abstracting water without a permit about the new act requiring all users to register with BWB.  

The efforts for the month-long inventory exercise paid off hugely. Over the course of the inventory exercise, the Pangani BWB collected a total of TZS 10.3 million (USD 4.6K) in outstanding fees.  

Moving forward, BWB plans to use the funds collected to expand the exercise beyond the Usa-River sub-catchment, which is only one of the many tributaries of the Kikuletwa River Catchment within the operation area of KWSP.  

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Wastewater Reuse in Agriculture: An Experiment in Maharashtra

The 2030 WRG team is working with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Maharashtra and the Pune Agriculture College to launch a scientific experiment to assess the efficacy of low-energy biological treatment of city sewage and its application in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and agro-forestry. There are plans to build two plants—each with a 100 m3/day capacity—at two campuses of the Agriculture College.

The experimental designs for both plants are based on a deep understanding of bioaccumulation of heavy metals, pesticides, organic pollutants and microorganisms in the food chain that has yet to be captured through any scientific assessments. The research approach includes testing the experimental zones with controlled food chains. Aligned with the spirit of the multi-stakeholder process followed by 2030 WRG, the experiments are designed to involve public sector (Agriculture Department), private technology developers, and civil society, specifically academia and researchers. If successful, this project could serve as an inspiration for greater adoption of wastewater reuse in the agriculture sector in India.  

Tapping city sewage

The plants are designed to tap city sewage from a drain passing through the campuses, which currently drains the wastewater into nearby river bodies. Results of initial technology evaluations carried out by a team of researchers at 2030 WRG and Pune’s Agriculture College favor the use of phytorid and bioremediation technologies, specifically using biologically engineered vegetation as a treatment option. These technologies are well commercialized and have been patented through National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), India’s leading Council for Scientific Research and Engineering (CSRE) laboratory. 

Strong regulatory support needed

In India, the economic value of treated wastewater within the context of circular economy is well understood, and there is strong regulatory support for wastewater recycling and reuse. Recent policy changes in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra clearly reflects such support. Although there is increasing adoption of such practices in the urban and industrial sectors in India, they are rare in the food and agriculture sector.  

Resilience essential

The Maharashtra 2030 WRG Multi-Stakeholder Platform’s work-stream on livelihood enhancement in rain-fed agriculture was developed in recognition of the need to explore wastewater reuse in the agriculture sector. Such an effort is strategic given the need to create water security and to ensure favorable water allocations in the agriculture sector where resilience in both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture is essential. 

Resource to be harnessed

Across the globe, a variety of sectors are starting to experiment with wastewater recycling and reuse, albeit with varying degrees of success. A global shift in perception has taken place, where wastewater was seen as a costly byproduct, and now recognized as a resource to be harnessed. Global best practices from Australia and Israel are testimonials to this encouraging trend.


For more details, get in touch with the Maharashtra 2030 WRG team: Mahesh Patankar, email:

Bridging the Gap Between Irrigation Financing Supply and Demand in Tanzania

The farms of small and emerging farmers in Tanzania consistently underperform due to the lack of access to technology and financing. In Tanzania, where many small and emerging farmers still practice rainfed agriculture, access to irrigation technologies and financing could be the key that unlocks their farms’ full potential.   

The Kilimanjaro Water Stewardship Platform (KWSP) and the Great Ruaha Restoration Campaign (GRRC), two catchment-level partnerships established with the support of the 2030 WRG Tanzania to catalyze multi-stakeholder solutions to encourage and improve sustainable water use among small and emerging farmers in Tanzania, together identified the need to improve coordination among farmers so that they can better take advantage of existing supply-side solutions.   

Understanding obstacles to financing 

As a follow-up, Tanzania 2030 WRG together with KWSP and GRRC commissioned a study to better understand the irrigation financing needs of small and emerging farmers in Tanzania, as well as the obstacles that prevent them from obtaining such financing.   

The study found that despite strong interest in irrigation financing from the farmers, farmers themselves lack the qualities of a credible investee. They are ill-equipped to conduct comprehensive business planning, identify appropriate sources of finance, prepare compelling financing proposals, and negotiate loan terms.   

Financier constraints 

On the supply-side, the high costs of identifying investment-ready farmers are a key constraint for financiers that want to provide irrigation financing to small and emerging farmers.  

The study also found that even when the above-mentioned barriers have been addressed, such investments require a high degree of confidence in the market. A such, strong sales records or offtake agreements with buyers and processors are therefore also needed.   

Align to public sector efforts 

Lastly, any opportunity can only be exploited when critical infrastructure such as bulk water supply, access roads, and power sources are in place. Business development in this sector therefore needs to align to public sector efforts to develop and maintain necessary infrastructure.  

Taken together, these challenges amount to a coordination failure that ultimately prevents smallholder farmers from accessing existing technology and financing.   

To help overcome these barriers the Tanzania 2030 WRG partnership is working together with KWSP and GRRC partnership to develop a portfolio of irrigation projects matching existing financing mechanisms. Among them, a USD $5 million allocation from Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) under its Rural Innovation Fund (RIF) program. The project aims to reduce coordination and transaction costs by leveraging 2030 WRG’s extensive network of public and private stakeholders to identify, prioritize, incubate, and package irrigation financing opportunities that meet the requirements of funding sources.  

Increasing productivity and abstracting less water 

The proposed project would incubate 30 irrigation projects, each targeting 100 farmers, over a three-year period. It is expected that farmers reached would increase their productivity by 30 percent while simultaneously decreasing water abstraction by 50 percent.   

The partnership aims to test the model at the sub-national level with the intention of a subsequent national rollout. To that end, it has already kicked off discussions with relevant partners about ways to implement this model within their domains.