How can utilities in the partner countries operate more effectively and efficiently to meet the freshwater and wastewater needs of the population and cover their costs? This question was the focus of the 6th Utility Platform networking event in Berlin on May 25 and 26, 2023.
The networking event followed the 5th Global WOPs Congress of UN-Habitat's Global Water Operators' Partnership Alliance (GWOPA) in Bonn and the BMZ event "Water Operators' Partnerships - Sustainable Water Security Beyond Aid" with German state secretary Jochen Flasbarth in Berlin.
More than 70 participants, representing nine utility partnerships, shared their approaches to solving technical and business challenges such as locating and repairing leakages and reducing operating costs for water supply. Of particular interest were methods to improve the knowledge and expertise of employees in their companies, from the upper management down to customer service personnel. The participants also learned about the cornerstones of the new Urban Water Catalyst Initiative, which promises a paradigm shift in water sector financing. Finally, they were updated on the status quo of the solidarity partnerships in the Ukraine.
The networking event focused on the exchange of ideas and experiences in working groups. Among the topics discussed were:
How can smart metering help to reduce non-revenue water?
Programme [pdf, 728 kb]
The nine utility partnerships presented their activities, cooperation approaches and experiences to each other. For example, Mkhuseli Nongogo from South Africa reported how Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, with the support of the Wupperverband and the Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband (OOWV), is setting up a virtual and thematically broad learning library with training videos for its employees.
The Ukrainian utilities provided information on their particular challenges due to the war in the country, which has destroyed a lot of water infrastructure. In addition to short-term reconstruction, they pursued also long-term strategies, for example regarding the energy efficiency of their plants.
From the German side, Kristin Michalek-Götz from Stadtentwässerung Dresden, among others, presented how the company is working with its Ukrainian partners to organise the procurement and transport of goods that the Ukrainian water utilities urgently need. According to Michalek-Götz, it is important to determine the needs in detail, to have trustworthy partners for the logistics and to keep an eye on all formal and customs requirements in both countries.
In his presentation, Tammo Janssen from OOWV explained how crisis management plans that OOWV used during the Covid 19 pandemic, for example, might also be useful for the Ukrainian water utilities operating under wartime conditions.
Hand in hand utility partnership in challenging times
Stadtentwässerung Dresden – Lvivvodokanal - Ternopilvodokanal - Nadvirnavodokanal
[pdf, 3,45 mb]
Insights on capacitiy development in Buffalo City, Metropolitan Municipality South Africa
Mkhuseli Nongogo, Buffalo City
[pdf, 1,76 mb]
Procurement and Transport in Solidarity Partnerships with Ukraine
Kristin Michalek-Götz, Stadtentwässerung Dresden
[pdf, 0,87 mb]
Matching the Urban Water Catalyst Initiative (UWCI) and WOPs
Dr. Detlef Klein, Theresa Hübscher and Lena Gomer, UWCI
[pdf, 1,55 mb]
Activity CE «Chernihivvodokanal» during the war
Sergii Maliavko, Director CE «Chernihivvodokanal
[pdf, 2,81 mb]
Crisis management at OOWV
Tammo Janßen, OOWV
[pdf, 0,81 mb]
Video: Low Cost Smart Water Metering Device for eThekwini Municipality, South Africa
Watch video at YouTube
Participants took many ideas back to their respective partnerships on how to further improve water and sanitation services. In the coming months and years, they would like to continue their cooperation because they still see many challenges that can be addressed by the partnerships.
Towards optimising utility partnerships in the water sector
Summary report of the 6th International Utility Platform network meeting in Berlin, 25-26 May 2023