Asia Water Week
Over 340 million people in Asia lack access to safe water supply and over 680 million lack access to sustainable services. The Asian Development Bank hosted Asia Water Week 2013 on March 13-15, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The event celebrated the theme “Securing Water for All.” Discussions at the conference centered on ways to improve Asia’s water sector and advance policy reform. Conference panels covered crosscutting topics including climate change, the water-food-energy nexus, and disaster management. Also featured were discussions on water supply and sanitation, water resources and the environment, and agriculture and irrigation. The theme of water security was examined through three targeted components: basin water management, urban water services, and rural water services. The event encouraged idea and knowledge sharing on water sector issues and technologies. Innovative initiatives in the water sector were announced and notable contributions in the water sector were recognized. The conference highlighted the need for sustained public funding and increased mobilization of private sector investment and expertise.
USAID Panel on Sustainability, Scale, and Impact
On December 13, 2012, USAID hosted a series of water sessions and a “mixer” that drew more than 100 participants. A panel comprised of USAID water staff based in Liberia, Kenya, Indonesia, and Nigeria shared insights from the field about programming for sustainability, bringing successful projects to scale, and ways to make the greatest impact. Presentations centered around keys to sustainability in water projects, including building capacity on the ground, balancing hardware with software, improving governance, and creating an enabling environment. Participants from USAID, other USG agencies, WASH organizations, and USAID implementing partners engaged the panelists in a question and answer session about their projects in the sector. One of the breakout sessions examined ways to better facilitate knowledge management and allowed participants to analyze the pros and cons of current information vehicles. The event helped participants to identify areas most in need of information sharing and sought to explore opportunities to fill gaps in knowledge between the Missions and USAID’s Water Office.
Indonesia Partners hip Provides Thousands with Clean Water
In January, USAID’s Indonesia Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) project announced an expanded partnership with the Bank Syariah Mandiri to help 40,000 low-income families in Indonesia obtain household water connections by providing them with loans. New water utility customers typically pay high upfront connection costs that are not affordable to low-income families. Under the expansion, customers will pay back loans in 12 to 36 monthly installments. Already, the partnership has helped finance 3,750 household water connections in the Kudus District of Central Java and the Mojokerto District of East Java. USAID/Indonesia Mission Director Andrew Sisson said, “Water is a basic human need, but for many, accessing safe, clean water is not a reality. The United States, through USAID, is very pleased to support microfinance partnerships that offer a path for low-income households to afford clean water connections in their homes.” The $37 million project works in 54 cities and districts nationwide to increase access to clean water for 2 million people and improve access to sanitation services for 200,000 people. IUWASH plays an important role in the U.S.-Indonesian Comprehensive Partnership, which works to improve bilateral relations between the United States and Indonesia.
Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation Program in East Africa
In January, USAID and implementing partner Tetra Tech launched the Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaptation, Research, and Economic Development (PREPARED) project. The project works to increase access to sustainable water supply in East Africa. With a budget of $24 million, PREPARED will work in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania to promote sustainable economic growth, strengthen transboundary freshwater ecosystems, increase climate change resilience, and improve the quality of life for East African communities. "This contract will increase the access to and sustainability of water supply in East Africa, helping to create the conditions for long-term, sustainable development," said Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO Dan Batrack.
USAID Water Office Develops Knowledge Management Strategy
Knowledge management (KM) encompasses getting the right knowledge to the right people at the right time. USAID’s Water Office has developed a strategy for knowledge management to maximize the value of its information and knowledge, support its partners and beneficiaries, and lead to improved effectiveness and impact. The strategy presents the goals, objectives, and activities through which USAID’s Water Office will capture knowledge that is critical to the Agency, constantly improve it, and make it available in the most effective manner to those who need it. USAID’s Water Office KM Strategy has four goals: Creating knowledge and turning data into useable information; capturing knowledge by collecting and cataloguing data and information; sharing knowledge by disseminating and promoting knowledge products while fostering a knowledge sharing culture; and learning by applying good practices and lessons learned to future activities.