African Development Bank

Towards Sustainable Water Services

Sunday 23 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: NL Pillar Hall
Teamwork Works, Rob Elfrink, Vitens

Sustainability of water services is increasingly taking centre stage in global discussions on green utilities. In this session we examine the different dimensions of water utility sustainability. First, utilities need to be able to manage and adapt to risks and threats facing the water resources used by the utility. Increasing urbanization, environmental pollution and climate change already to great extend impact the quality, the quantity and the price of available water resources and thus the utility's ability to provide reliable services. Secondly, sustainability implies a governance framework that allows the organization to operate autonomously and incorporate long-term time horizon for investment and management decisions. Thirdly, sustainability incorporates a financial dimension as capital investment and operation and maintenance costs for service provisioning are substantial. Sustainable utilities need to recover costs. Fourthly, sustainability encompasses an infrastructural dimension as water infrastructure lies at the very heart of water provisioning. This infrastructure needs to be  adequately maintained and managed. The way these strongly interrelated. dimensions are addressed form the basis for the development of mature water utilities.

The session will involve speakers from Government, financers (African Development Bank World Bank), knowledge institutes (UNESCO-IHE) and water operators  from Rwanda and Netherlands.


The interactive session, chaired by Marco Schouten, CEO of Vitens Evides International, will include pitches from:

  • Malinne Blomberg: African Development Bank, Ivory Coast
  • Riksta Zwart: Water Company Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Bill Kingdom: World Bank, United States of America
  • James Sano: Water and Sanitation Corporation, Republic of Rwanda
  • Kebede Gerba: State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia

Facilitator: Professor Kenneth Irwine, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands
Panel member: Pritha Hariram, IWA, Australia
Panel member: Julie Perkins, UN Global Water Operator Partnership Alliance, Canada


Only in a concerted action of governments, financers, utilities and customers technically and financially sustainable water services can be achieved by 2025. Water operators in their peer-to-peer partnerships all over the world can provide valuable contributions to make this dream come true.