The Water Operators Partnerships Program (WOPs) has effectively demonstrated performance improvement possibilities in several areas including non-revenue water (NRW) management, water quality management, septage management, and climate change adaptation. To date, WaterLinks through its partners, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have facilitated over 65 WOPs throughout Asia since 2008 and are supporting 25 ongoing activities. These WOPs have led to improved or expanded access to safe water and sustainable sanitation for over 800,000 urban residents and strengthened the capacities of over 1,000 practitioners.
However, the challenge remains in scaling-up or expanding the application of approaches and strategies for operational efficiency improvements emerging from WOPs. Accelerating water scarcity and growing water demand elevates the importance of NRW management. Rising energy costs requires more energy efficient operations. Likely impacts of climate change in the region necessitate water service providers to seek innovative tools to adapt and build their resilience. There is a need for water utilities to understand that investing in efficiency pays off as demonstrated by successful water operators that include the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, the Manila Water Company Inc., and Indah Water Konsortium of Malaysia. Assessing the constraints of replicating and scaling-up good practices therefore remains essential to further strengthen WOPs as a capacity building modality.
ADB continues to support the WOPs program through various programs funded by donor countries. ADB aims to facilitate 20 WOPs annually, conduct several Master Classes on topics to improve operational efficiencies, develop knowledge products on good practices and innovation, and continue to actively promote WOPs successes through the WaterLinks Forum.
As such, the 2012 Southeast Asia WaterLinks Forum with the theme "Enhancing WOPs in Asia" will be held in conjunction with the International Water Association's Water Loss Asia on 3-5 October 2012 at the Queen Sirikit's National Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand.
The 2012 WaterLinks Forum aims to:
- Increase the understanding among water operators on the need to embed strategies to improve operational efficiency
- Understand how investing in efficiency can result in financial gain
- Demonstrate how recipient operators have scaled-up and replicated lessons learned
- Understand the role and implementation of effective messaging
- Improved understanding of the benefits of WOPs and the effective messaging of successes
- Initiation of new partnerships
The forum is being organized by WaterLinks, in cooperation ADB and USAID.
About 50 representatives from urban water supply and wastewater service providers in Southeast Asia, private sector, development partners including donor agencies and associations are invited to participate.