The Global Outlook on Water Integrity estimates that $75 billion of water investments is lost to corruption annually. Promoting water integrity and fighting corruption in the water sector has the potential to dramatically improve human dignity, health and equitable access to water, also vis-à-vis the human right to water supply and sanitation.Integrity consists of choosing to think and act based on values rather than personal gain, thus every stakeholder in the water sector has a role to play in ensuring ethical behavior and create integrity change.
Since 2014, AWARENET collaborates with the Water Governance Facility at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and numerous partners to implement Water Integrity Capacity Building in the Arab region. This online seminar series is a continuation of the effort to bring more awareness, knowledge and tools to better regulate the water sector in the region. AWARENET specifically tailored the Online Seminar Series on Water Integrity to the Arab region, which consists of four bi-monthly webinars in 2017, a platform for documents and a discussion forum, supported by Cap-Net UNDP through its Virtual Campus.
Module 1 of the Online Seminar Series: Water Integrity in the Arab Region focused on the experience of the Water Sector Regulatory Council in the State of Palestine, with its CEO Mohamed Said Al Hmaidi, and took place on 20 June 2017.
Mr. Al-Hmaidi highlighted that in the State of Palestine, as in most countries in the Arab region, water service providers are struggling to provide a sustainable service. In the State of Palestine alone, around 500 service providers in the water, wastewater and desalination sector exist, each having created their own way of tariff setting. A lack of strategic planning on how to collect the fees leaves providers struggling to maintain the systems, water quality or expand the network, leading to customer discontent and affecting their willingness to pay.
Recognizing the need for reform, the Palestinian Authority, established the Water Sector Regulatory Council in accordance with the Water Law no. 14 of 2014. The WSRC is a financially and administratively independent non-profit institution, which reports directly to the Palestinian Cabinet of Ministers.
Thus, the WSRC aims to ensure that water and wastewater services are effective, sustainable, and are provided at affordable prices while maintaining the interests of all stakeholders. From this standpoint, the council monitors the performance of service providers through a number of technical, financial, and quality indicators in line with universal practices. The results of this process are published in a report on “The Performance of Water Service Providers in Palestine”.
The report monitors the performance of service providers and identifies areas and methods for improvement. Continuous data gathering and sharing helps reduce risks by allowing to verifying the data and identifying trends and supports policy decision-making.