The ESAWAS Regulators Association held its 11th Annual Conference from 1st-2nd November 2017 in Livingstone, Zambia. The conference held under the theme 'Water Integrity and SDG6- designing appropriate regulation' was largely lauded as insightful and a success by participants. About 78 participants from 45 different institutions attended the conference which was hosted by the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) and supported by GIZ and the Water Integrity Network (WIN). Participants hailed from Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Germany, South Africa and Palestine.
The 11th ESAWAS Conference was officially opened by the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Hon. Lloyd Kaziya. On hand to welcome participants was His Worship the Mayor of the City of Livingstone, Mr Eugene Mapuwo. In his welcome remarks, the Mayor implored participants to take time to enjoy the tourism capital of Zambia and at the same time touched on the importance of the theme in improving service delivery. The NWASCO Director, Mr Kelvin Chitumbo, in his remarks, thanked all the participants for taking time to attend the conference. This was followed by remarks from the ESAWAS Chairperson, Mr Magalhaes Miguel who gave a history of ESAWAS' growth citing that the first meeting of the Association was held in both Lusaka and Livingstone in 2007. He also emphasised that the theme was specifically chosen at a time when respective countries were putting in place measures to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and hence the aspect of water integrity needed to be incorporated so as to safeguard improved and accelerated water supply and sanitation service delivery.
The Acting PS, Mr Kenneth Nundwe, in his remarks referred to a quote by Paul Watson saying 'if you had told me 30 years ago that we would be buying water in bottles and paying more than fuel, I would have said you were completely out of your mind'. He wondered what could have gone wrong in the sector that tap water should no longer be drinkable. He therefore urged regulators to look closely into this aspect as part of the deliberations. In his opening speech, Hon Kaziya lauded the chosen theme and highlighted the need for stakeholders to play their roles in fostering transparency, accountability and participation in the water sector which are the three pillars of water integrity. 'Without integrity water becomes inaccessible, unaffordable and undrinkable' read his speech in part. Hence it was opportune to foster water integrity as a means to improving service delivery and thereby also achieving SDG6 in particular which is 'Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all'.
The conference presenters included a key note presentation by Mr Hakan Tropp- Board Member of WIN- who gave a stimulating overview of the need for water integrity.
Other presenters included the water utilities of Lesotho, Dar es Salaam and Lusaka, African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), WIN, NWASCO, Water Aid, African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW), African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI), WaterAid, Combined Harare Residents Association and Action for Water. Other presenters were from the African Forum for Utility Regulation (AFUR) and the the Climate Resilience Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF).
Key issues from the conference included the need for water integrity teams/committees within institutions; change management to foster integrity; collaboration among regulators, utilities, consumer associations and other enforcement agencies such as anti-corruption and auditor general; and monitoring Utilities through appropriate indicators for integrity and governance.