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Water experts call for partnerships in tackling challenges

Water experts from different countries across the globe are rooting for the partnership approach in solving problems related to the vital resource.

Anders Berntell, the 2030 WRG Executive Director
Anders Berntell, the 2030 WRG Executive Director

The call comes as the water professional and authorities from Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Tanzania meet in South Africa for a week-long knowledge exchange organised by the 2030 Water Resource Group (2030 WRG), a global public-private-civil society partnership based in Washington USA in collaboration with Stockholm International Water Institute and the Water and Sanitation Department of South Africa.

Addressing the close to 100 participants at Sheraton Pretoria Hotel, Anders Berntell, the 2030 WRG Executive Director stressed that partnerships based on collaboration and teamwork would provide more consistent, co-ordinated and comprehensive solution to the water resource problems.

Such partnerships could be between individuals, private sector, agencies, organisations and governments. And, according to water experts attending this meeting, this would help to solve problems like: water scarcity, aquifer depletion, corruption in the water sector, water overuse, pollution and changes in water availability, among others.

One of the countries that have benefited from this approach is Kenya, a nation facing a 30 per cent deficit between the water resources and demand, according to water experts.

In an exclusive chat with WaterSan Perspective at the meeting, Kimanthi Kyengo, the Kenya’s Deputy Director in charge of Water Services, said such an approach is a practical solution to Kenya’s water problems.

“It is one of the solutions that is potentially beneficial to Kenya. It brings ideas, expertise and resources in the water sector,” he stated.

Tanzanian delegation. Christopher Sayi, the chairperson of National Water Board for Tanzania, standing
Tanzanian delegation. Christopher Sayi, the chairperson of National Water Board for Tanzania, standing

To make this approach work, Kimanthi noted Kenya has “developed concepts on how it would benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens; sensitised all the stakeholders about the process and is now in the process of recruiting stakeholders to come together to look for solutions.”

Similarly, this approach has worked in Tanzania. Christopher Sayi, the chairperson of National Water Board for Tanzania, said it is helping to make sure all stakeholders especially the private sector know their roles in conserving the water resource.

“That is why we are encouraging these partnerships so that they (private sector) can also contribute in terms of technology and also contribute towards financing the management of water resources in the country.”

Earlier, while speaking during the opening session, Anton Earle, the Director of Africa regional centre for the Swedish International Water Institute, gave an example of partnership between governments, citing the South African government which is partnering with that of Lesotho to import water to Pretoria, some 400 kilometres away, following high rains in Lesotho.

By Fredrick Mugira (WaterSan Perspective)

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