AWARENET organized Session on Water Regulatory Agencies during the 12th WSTA Gulf Water Conference in Manama, Bahrain, 28-30 March 2017

Countries in the GCC and the Arab region face challenges to provide water for an increasing population and rising demand under prevailing water scarcity. Due to the urgency to improve the financial and water resource management, public water supply and sanitation institutions initiated reforms towards a client-oriented, efficient, and equitable service delivery.

wsta2Water regulators serve as a source of information on the performance of water utilities and systems and as independent price-setting bodies. They monitor the adherence to rules, regulations and service provision and bring regulatory expertise into the public sector, a sector prone to market failures and fragmentation of regulatory responsibilities.

ESCWA and AWARENET organized a Session on "The Role of Regulatory Water Agencies in Efficient Water Management” during the WSTA Twelve Gulf Water Conference. The GCC Unified Water Strategy and Implementation Plan (2016-2035), which was approved recently by the GCC countries identified effective water sector regulation as a main policy to improve governance in the water sector.

The Session took place during a Plenary Session attended by at least 100 participants and the presentation and speeches were followed animated discussion. Adam Torrey, Chair of the AWARENET Water Governance Working Group presented on the importance of a regulatory framework for good water governance. Dr. Mohamed Hassan, Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Water Regulatory Agency shared experiences of their establishment and operation, followed by Mr. Mohamed Said AlHmaidi, CEO of the Water Sector Regulatory Authority (WSRC) in Palestine provided recommendations based on the data collected and procedures implemented by the WSRC since 2014. Examples from the Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau in Abu Dhabi were also provided.wsta3

The Session outcomes included the recommendations to:

  • Ensure that Governments endorse a reform action plan and implementation for a comprehensive institutional and legislative reform in the water and sanitation sector
  • The establishment of strong (capable) and sustainable institutions, including a Regulatory Authority / Council with a legal framework that clearly defines their roles, responsibilities and the interface (relationship) between institutions
  • The importance of monitoring the performance of water service providers to identify and support localities with highest non-revenue water.

In addition to the Session, AWARENET facilitated a consultation with members and experts to explore opportunities for further collaboration.

A more detailed report with case studies will be available here soon.

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AWARENET Co-organizes third Water Integrity Training for the Arab Region in Tunis, Tunisia, 7-8 December 2016

The water sector, like many other sectors with large-scale infrastructure projects, public sector involvement as well as high technical complexity and multiple stakeholders, is at risk of corruption. The Global Outlook on Water Integrity estimates that $75 billion of water investments is lost to corruption annually.

Tunis 1Water is indispensable for human health and welfare, therefore corruption in this sector can have extremely harmful consequences. Integrity consists of choosing to think and act based on values rather than personal gain, thus every stakeholder in the water sector has a role to play in ensuring ethical behavior and create integrity change. AWARENET, jointly with GWP-Med, SIWI organized the third Regional Training Course on Water Integrity on 7-8 December 2016 in Tunis, Tunisia, to build the capacity of water managers in applying water integrity tools.

Twenty-one policy-makers from seven countries in the Arab region learnt how to assess integrity risks and applied the water integrity toolbox, including risk reduction and water integrity strengthening tools. The toolbox supports organisations in improving their performance by helping them to make integrity a core part of their business. Participants were equipped with instruments to help them become actors of change for good governance in their institutions.

Tunis 2Data on corruption levels in the Arab region is scarce, however anecdotal evidence suggests a lack of transparency and integrity which undermines effective water governance. Raising awareness and training more stakeholders on how to prevent un-ethical practices and improve the governance of water resource management and service delivery, will lead to transparency and accountability in institutions and the water sector as a whole.

The third Regional Training Course on Water Integrity was organized as part of the “MENA Water Integrity Capacity Building Programme” through its partners GWP-Med, IUCN-ROWA and SIWI, and co-organized with AWARENET, a network of UNDP Cap-Net and UfM.

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