Proceedings of the 42nd WEDC International Conference

Equitable and Sustainable WASH Services

Future challenges in a rapidly changing world

The role of regulation in enhancing urban WASH resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic has reemphasized the urgency for action on inadequacy of urban water supply and sanitation service provision across Africa, with fragile WASH systems, limited capacity to absorb external shocks and inadequate government funding.

This fragility has exacerbated the technical and financial stresses on water utilities in response to government COVID-19 management directives and worsening macroeconomic and fiscal conditions.

USAID’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Finance (WASH-FIN) program has been working with water regulators in Kenya (WASREB), Mozambique (AURA) and Zambia (NWASCO) to assess the financial and other impacts of COVID-19 on water utilities and supporting mitigation measures.

Drawing on these experiences, this event targets governments, regulators, service providers and development partners to discuss the fragility of urban water services provision pre-pandemic and actions taken to reduce these impacts. The regulators will share insights on their critical role in enhancing long-term financial sustainability of water utilities, which is inexorably linked to maintaining and extending WASH services and moving toward improved contingency planning and resiliency.

The event will also feature perspectives from African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and Eastern and Southern Africa Water Regulators Association (ESAWAS) on the need for governments to rethink their WASH service delivery models to enable more effective, efficient, and sustainable operations, especially to low-income unplanned areas.

The event will be a live discussion organized as follows: WASH-FIN presentation on COVID-19 impacts on utilities; Interventions by WASREB, AURA and NWASCO on WASH responses and utility fragilities; Participant input through live polling; Interview with ESAWAS and AMCOW on roles of regulators and governments in building urban WASH resilience; and Q&A.

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