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.
Water 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.
UNESCWA 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 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.
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.