fbpx Networks and Partnerships in the Water Sector | Asian Development Bank

Networks and Partnerships in the Water Sector

ADB works in partnership with development agencies and donors in support of regional and sub-regional water networks to strengthen reforms and fast track water developments in the Asia and Pacific region.

ADB-GWP Cooperation on Water Activities in the Asia-Pacific Region

At the 2006 World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, ADB and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) signed a new agreement to fast-track developments in the Asia-Pacific's water sector.

The partnership aims to improve water governance and water governance supply services delivery in the region. To implement the partnership's activities, ADB and GWP have each contributed US$50,000 and jointly developed work programs.

For more information, visit the GWP website.

ADB-JWA Collaboration on Improving Water Security in River Basins

Water security in river basins has become an increasingly pressing issue in the Asia-Pacific region. The need to adapt water resource management to climate change impacts and to improve risk management and preparedness for water related disasters are requiring more attention and investment.

In 2003, ADB and the Japan Water Agency (JWA) helped established the Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO), whose main work is the promotion of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the region's river basins. Together with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), ADB, and JWA have been actively supporting NARBO, acting as the organization's secretariat.

The present collaboration between ADB and the JWA aims to improve water security in Asia's river basins by providing continued support to NARBO.

Key Result Areas

  • Knowledge products and services: Including on legal and institutional frameworks for IWRM in river basins, among others
  • Capacity development: For river basin organizations and water agencies to improve water security
  • Regional knowledge hubs: Collaboration with the Center for River Basin Organizations and Management
  • Investment projects: Including demonstration activities to introduce IWRM and improve water security
  • Expert services: By JWA to support projects and services under ADB's Water Financing Program
  • Leadership promotion: Engaging with leaders in government, civil society and the private sector to support NARBO's work
  • Asia-Pacific Water Summit: Integrating the agenda for water security in river basins in the Summit and other events
  • "Ministers for Water" Initiative: Facilitating engagement with ministers and policy makers who can promote water security

Asia Training and Research Initiative for Urban Management (ATRIUM)

ATRIUM was established by ADB and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore in 2007 to promote cooperation and knowledge sharing in urban infrastructure and water management. ATRIUM aims to:

  • Create a platform to stimulate discussions and knowledge sharing among governments, industries, and international organizations on innovative and sustainable urban management solutions
  • Promote public-private partnerships in urban management

The partnership will provide a flexible framework of cooperation between ADB and IE Singapore, under which knowledge sharing programs and demonstration projects can be undertaken. It will be guided by the following principles:

  • Share knowledge on lessons learned, and plan and evaluate cooperation activities in urban management for Asia Pacific countries.
  • Leverage and pool resources, expertise and facilities to mutual advantage and benefit.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of collaborating on respective organizational mandates and priorities.

Asia-Pacific Water Forum

The Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) identifies and adopts solutions to water issues in the region. Established in 2006, the APWF works to increase the region's access to improved water supplies and sanitation, protect and restore river basins, and reduce people's vulnerability to water disasters. Its objectives are to:

  • Provide countries and organizations in the Asia-Pacific region with a common platform for articulating the region's strategies and promoting its achievements in solving water problems
  • Showcase leadership in decision-making, excellence in practice and innovation, and concrete results that have had a substantial impact at the grassroots level

For more details, visit the APWF website.

Australian Water Partnership

ADB, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Government of Australia, and eWater Limited (on behalf of the Australian Water Partnership) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation between Australian public and private water sector organizations and the ADB and relevant organizations in countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This partnership recognizes the urgency to assist countries in the Asia-Pacific region to improve water resource management in the face of increasing demand for water, pollution of water resources, and climate change impacts.

Areas for cooperation may include, but are not limited to: integrated water resources management, including climate change adaptation and flood and drought management; legislation, regulation, and policy framework for water resources management; irrigation productivity; urban design for water sensitive cities; water security; sanitation service delivery; environmental protection; and capacity building and stakeholder engagement processes.

Central Asia and South Caucasus Water Utilities Association

The Central Asia and South Caucasus Water Utilities Association (CASCWUA) is a new organization of water utilities committed to improving its members' performance in the delivery of water services. By forming this association, water utilities from Central Asia and South Caucasus are taking progressive action to tackle the region's widespread problems of inadequate drinking water and lack of improved sanitation.

CASCWUA was established in November 2007 at a conference in Almaty, Uzbekistan, during which utilities agreed on the objectives and activities of the network, including performance benchmarking, twinning, and capacity development.


KnowledgeHubs is a network of regional water knowledge hubs under the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) committed to improving water security in the Asia-Pacific region by

  • promoting knowledge sharing among, and developing capacity of, water institutions
  • championing feasible solutions for priority water topics.

Launched in 2008, the APWF's KnowledgeHubs was established through a cooperation agreement among the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Singapore's Public Utilities Board, and ADB. It will allow knowledge hubs to collaborate in more than a dozen water knowledge domains.

For more information, visit the KnowledgeHubs website.

National Water Sector Apex Bodies

ADB considers Water Apex bodies as critical institutions to improve decision-making for better water governance. Every government needs an authority with the expertise and vision to draw up a road map toward reform, and oversee that each effort successfully achieves its objective.

ADB promotes and supports National Water Sector Apex Bodies (NWSABs) as critical institutions to improve decision-making for better water governance to:

  • promote a national focus on water sector reform through the formulation and adoption of effective national water policies, water laws, improved institutional capacities, information management, and a national action agenda for the water sector
  • guide a water sector reform process in which the relevant stakeholders in the country collaborate to achieve agreed water sector outcomes
  • facilitate policy dialogue and investment partnerships in the water sector with development partners, including ADB

Network of Asian River Basin Organizations

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is recognized by many as the paradigm for establishing good water governance and putting water resources on the recovery path. The Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO) was established to share knowledge and build capacity for IWRM in river basins throughout the Asia and Pacific region.

ADB, ADB Institute, and the Japan Water Agency supported NARBO's establishment in 2003, with these objectives:

  • Exchange of information and experience among river basin organizations (RBOs) in Asia
  • Strengthen RBOs' capacity and effectiveness in promoting IWRM and improving water governance

For more information, visit the NARBO website.

South Asian Water Utilities Network

The South Asian Water Utilities Network (SAWUN) is a new organization of water utilities in South Asia whose vision is to measurably improve its members' performance in the delivery of water supply and sanitation services.

With ADB's support, SAWUN was established in April 2007 at a conference in Islamabad, Pakistan. SAWUN is committed to becoming a self-sustaining organization that proactively responds to its members' needs and demonstrates excellence in delivering its programs and practices.

South East Asian Water Utilities Network

The South East Asian Water Utilities Network (SEAWUN) was established in 2002 at a regional meeting sponsored by ADB. At this meeting, water utility managers and utility association officials from Southeast Asia realized the potential benefits of a utilities network for the region.

Since then, SEAWUN has become a strong regional, non-profit, and self-sustaining organization focused on benchmarking, cost recovery, nonrevenue water reduction, and human resources development. It helps its members to

  • improve service delivery
  • attain operational and management efficiency
  • achieve financial viability
  • advocate sector reforms for improved policy environment

UNESCO-IHE, PUB, ADB Cooperation on Developing Water Knowledge and Lessons

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the Singapore Public Utilities Board, and ADB have a mutual interest in managing knowledge and building capacity for integrated water resources management and the delivery of water services. They signed a cooperation agreement to support the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) in June 2007 in Delft, the Netherlands.

The UNESCO-IHE, PUB, ADB supports the APWF's first key result area on developing water knowledge and lessons for the Asia-Pacific region. It will have an initial implementation period of 2 years. Before the end of that period, the partners will review the Cooperation and decide on its possible extension.

Core Areas of Cooperation

  • Establishment of APWF's KnowledgeHubs network to promote knowledge exchange on priority water topics.
  • Review of Water Capacity Development Experience, to promote and encourage replication of good practices
  • Development of Water Knowledge Products to produce knowledge products on rural, urban and basin water issues.

UNESCO-IHE-ADB Knowledge Partnership

Knowledge and Innovation Support for ADB's Water Financing Program

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and ADB entered into a partnership agreement on 7 November 2011 for a knowledge partnership to support the implementation of ADB's Water Financing Program.

Core Activities

Use of UNESCO-IHE's own and partner organizations' experts for project preparation and implementation, including peer review of complex projects. The priority areas of expertise include:

  • government-corporate-society partnerships, including the corporatization of public utilities, and partnerships with knowledge institutes
    • water and climate change
    • water and food security
    • water, environment, and ecosystems
    • sanitation and wastewater management
    • water governance
  • Operational research and joint studies by making use of M.Sc and Ph.D. research students
  • Promoting networking among clients and knowledge hubs
  • Contribution to ADB conferences, workshops, seminars, and forums
  • Education, training, and other capacity building activities to refresh the knowledge of DMC staff, including knowledge sharing activities with ADB staff
  • Specific support to Country Water Assessments, "The Future of Water in Asia" study, Asian Water Info System, among other activities.