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Global Water Leaders Announce New Model for Water Access

Parul Dubey on March 23, 2017 - in Water

A new approach to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals for Water and Sanitation has been launched today to coincide with World Water Day. Backed by the Global Water Leader Group and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water, New Models for Water Access outlines how the problems of bad water and sanitation can be solved at a lower overall cost than our current inadequate arrangements. The secret is in innovating around the business model, the technology and governance.

Members of the Global Agenda Council on Water include Water.org co-founder Gary White, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck, Dutch Environment Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Veolia SVP Laurent Auguste, Water Health International founder Sanjay Bhatnagar,  Suez CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade, Circle of Blue founder J Carl Ganter and former Water Aid CEO Barbara Frost. It is chaired by Usha Rao Monari, CEO of Global Water Development Partners. The Global Water Leaders Group brings together utility CEOs from around the world and is headed by William Muhairwe, formerly CEO of the Ugandan National Water and Sewerage Corporation.

The key findings of the white paper are:

  • It is cheaper to water better: bad water and sanitation currently impose unnecessary cost of $323 billion a year on households outside the advanced economies. The same money redeployed on improving public water and sanitation systems would solve the problem
  • Solving water for all is a race against time: The cost of coping with inadequate access to water – through packaged water purchases, home water treatment and tanker deliveries is growing much faster than utility investment. There is a real risk that if the public water model does not improve its competitive offering, expensive household solutions will become the norm.
  • It starts with a social contract: if we are to re-invigorate public water services, we need buy-in from all the stake holders. This involves identifying the value each group – households, businesses, government bodies – expects from improved access and committing to support improvements accordingly.
  • We need to innovate around the business model and the technology: good water and sanitation are both affordable – even for the very poor. What stands in the way of universal access is often the lack of appropriate and affordable service choices on offer. We need to look at micro-credits, decentralised systems, value from waste technologies, utility performance programmes, smart networks and micro-utilities too.

The white paper’s author, Christopher Gasson, Publisher of Global Water Intelligence and member of the Global Agenda Council on Water said: “Although we achieved the Millennium Development Goal for water in 2015, the reality is that new investment in infrastructure has not been keeping pace with the depreciation of the existing assets. Services in many parts of the world are actually getting worse. The GAC was charged with developing a new economic model which will help reverse this, and I think that we have done that.

“The next step is to develop pilot projects to show that this thinking can actually make the difference.”
The White Paper is freely available to download from the Global Water Leader’s Group home page: http://www.globalwaterleaders.org

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