The provision of water services is a core development issue that needs the appropriate political and financial attention. The annual cost of replacing and maintaining water infrastructure – which the OECD estimates to be $1.3 trillion for developed countries and emerging markets – remains a challenge in many countries. This is illustrated by the important gap between planned and actual investments.
Over the past decade, several studies have been carried out to establish how much more needs to be invested in the water sector to reach international development targets. Although this is difficult to accurately estimate, it is clear that current levels of investment are insufficient. In fact, a recent OECD study estimated that by 2015, $772 billion will have to be invested each year in wastewater services around the world.
Although progress has been made towards the Millennium Development Goals, 783 million people still do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. This requires immediate action. To address these issues, the Global Agenda Council on Water will, through its membership of 20 leading experts from a broad range of sectors and backgrounds, build on the wealth of existing knowledge and studies on the topic and develop a workable access model in a way that combines the key elements of water access and sanitation.
To do this, the council has established four workstreams, focusing on the following areas:
1. Analytical basis
The analytical basis will provide a description of what the current situation is in terms of access (i.e. towards 24/7 access to potable water with wastewater collection/treatment and protection of sources) based on the distribution of people who have different levels of access. This workstream will assemble data in a compelling way and provide evidence as to why the new access model is needed.
2. Analysis of barriers to access
This workstream will assess the barriers to access, especially from the financing and governance perspectives. Solutions will then be identified using the council’s work.
3. Identification of pilots
This workstream will explore and identify potential pilots where the model can be tested, with a focus on demonstrating solutions that can scale and create impact.
The workstream on communication will develop a plan for delivering the key findings, using its own network but also through other councils and Forum communities.
The council also plans to pilot a workable model for closing the water access gap that would have the potential to be scaled up.
Council Manager: Sophia Sandström, Project Specialist, Environmental Initiatives, Sophia.Sandstrom@weforum.org
Forum Lead: Dominic Kailash Nath Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership, Global Agenda Platform, Member of the Executive Committee, email@example.com