About Pilot and Demonstration Activities in the Water Sector

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A Pilot and Demonstration Activity (PDA) is a small-scale, short-term water project designed to test and validate new and innovative approaches, methodologies, and practices for improved water resources management and water services delivery, as well as sector policy development and sector reform.
PDAs directly support either an ADB project or sector work in one of ADB’s developing member countries. They provide support for reforms and developments in ADB’s three water investment areas: rural water, urban water, and river basin water.
PDAs are fast-moving, quick-disbursing activities. Water stakeholders are invited to propose projects for funding assistance. Eligible topics relate directly to ADB's Water Operational Plan 2011-2020. Funding assistance of up to $50,000 per project is provided to accepted project proposals. A project should be completed within one year.


PDAs were introduced as a program under the Cooperation Fund for the Water Sector (CFWS), a multi-donor facility that promotes effective water management policies and practices in Asia and the Pacific. The CFWS financed 39 PDAs between 2002 and 2008.
When the CFWS closed in December 2009, the Water Financing Partnership Facility (WFPF) continued supporting the PDA program and has since funded another 21 PDAs, now in varying stages of implementation.


PDAs test new ideas and validate their applicability covering five specific but overlapping themes:

  • policy, legislation, and regulatory reforms
  • institutional arrangements
  • public awareness and water education
  • appropriate technology
  • participation, inclusive approaches, and multi-stakeholder representation.

These themes serve as guideposts to ensure that the PDAs continuously reach to test and demonstrate the value of new ideas in as many aspects of water operations as possible, and do not focus too narrowly on a particular thematic area in the sector or type of project.


To date, more than 65 small pilot projects have been implemented and contributed to ADB’s water operations in various ways, such as

  • trying out design options during project preparation
  • finding solution to a problem and exploring such solution during fact-finding missions
  • improving quality of engagement with government counterparts and with stakeholders in the field, including project beneficiaries
  • triggering the development of new investments.

Furthermore, PDAs have helped in advancing wider sector work, such as in pushing reform measures and in improving institutional arrangements. Through replication and scaling up, PDAs offer small and sustainable solutions to Asia’s water problems.