Towards optimising utility partnerships in the water sector

2023 - Summary report of the 6th International Utility Platform network meeting in Berlin, 25-26 May 2023


Susanne Reiff, Linda Engel, Nikola Krause (SKEW), Heiko Heidemann (GIZ)




2023 is an important year for the water sector. In March, the first United Nations Water Conference in 50 years took place. In July, the United Nations High-Level Political Forum reviewed Sustainable Development Goal 6 on "Clean Water and Sanitation". Immediately preceding the Utility Platform Network Meeting, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) dedicated a high-level event to international water operators’ partnerships, and the 5th Global WOPs Congress was held, convened by UN-Habitat's Global Water Operators' Partnership Alliance (GWOPA).

Against this backdrop, more than 70 participants from nine operator partnerships gathered in Berlin on 25-26 May 2023 for the 6th International Network Meeting of the Utility Platform.

How can utilities in partner countries work more effectively and efficiently to meet people's needs for drinking water and wastewater while covering their costs? How can the German partners best support them in this? These questions were the focus of the event.

The water utilities also shared their strategies and experiences regarding technical and business challenges such as locating and repairing leaks and reducing operating costs for water supply. Of particular interest were methods to improve the knowledge and expertise of staff in their companies, from senior management to customer service. The event also focused on the challenges faced by Ukrainian utilities under war conditions and how they can be helped to rebuild damaged or destroyed water infrastructure.

At the end of the event, participants visited the Berlin-Ruhleben wastewater treatment plant, the Berlin-Beelitzhof waterworks and an industrial wastewater treatment plant in Blankenfelde-Mahlow near Berlin.

The representatives of the nine utility partnerships confirmed that they want to continue their cooperation beyond the pilot phase of the Utility Platform, which goes until June 2024.



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