Water Services Providers Association (WASPA)of Kenya will organize its first Annual Conference in Nairobi Kenya from 8th to 9th September, 2011 with the following theme: “Sustaining Gains in the Provision of Quality Water and Sewerage Services”.
The theme reflects the mandate of WSPs in water service
provision in Kenya and as defined by the Water Act 2002.
The need to gather and share learning experiences cannot be underscored in the present time and should be geared towards building reflections and spreading insights all over the world. In a sector dealing with provision of water and sewerage services, diverse actors are involved whose role differs from ensuring quality of water available for drinking to providers of various technologies. Issues of what targets have been achieved must continually remain in top priority activities to inform plans for the future. Integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and thereby reversing the loss of environmental resources is critical today if we have to sustain and uphold our water resources.
The question today is to what extent has target 10 of halving, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in the universally set Millennium Development Goal Number 7 been met? To be able to reach wider population with access to quality water and sanitation in both rural and urban areas is of great concern to governments, development practitioners and the private sector players alike. In Kenya for in stance, water and sewerage provision has been undergoing severe structural changes in the last decade. Incidence of political reforms commissioned by the new Water Act 2002 as well as the coming of the new constitutional dispensation cannot be ignored. Water is now rightfully and constitutionally recognized as a human right commodity.
This brings to mind the fact that this is the right time to review the journey so far. As policy and institutional changes continue to sweep through the various sectors in the country in line with implementation of the new constitution, all stakeholders especially those involved with water and sewerage provision must take account of gains realized so far. They must also reflect prospects for the future.
Selecting this theme this year was therefore obviously critical. It demonstrates the scope of challenge that Water Services Providers of Kenya want to engage to all its associate partners around the world. The many expected expertise to be drawn to participate in this 1st WASPA Annual Conference will exchange their ideas, knowledge and experiences during the technical sessions organized under given thematic areas.
The New National Constitution defines Water as a human right. This is also well reflected in the National Water Services Strategy (2007 – 2015) in its guiding principles towards sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation as a human right.
Since the enactment of the Water Act 2002 there have been tremendous changes in the Water Sector Kenya. There is in place an elaborate and comprehensive institutional and legal framework which separates policy formulation, regulation, water resources management and services provision.
The new constitutional dispensation has brought about devolution of governance with introduction of county governments that will be responsible for all services provision (including water and sanitation). Other government line Ministries especially of Local Government, Land and Environment will share a forum with sister stakeholders in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and discuss what views are workable for service delivery. Under this framework, there have been diverse experiences; a majority of WSPs have made substantive strides in widening service provision through measures of reducing non revenue water, heavy investments among other factors. This conference a forum for continued exchange of new ideas and innovations. An important component is the close sharing and exchange with the manufacturers and suppliers of water and sanitation components i.e. pipes, treatments etc that are vital for the system.
The whole first day of the event is dedicated to examining water and sanitation management, governance with reference to case study of best performing experiences. Day 2 will start by focusing on empowerment and capacity building solutions, examining innovations especially from The Vitens Evides of Netherlands. Moving into late morning with issues of asset development and financing options.
The afternoon of Day 2 will assess and compile recommendations on the way forward.
By coordinating activities for this event in Nairobi, it is expected that the objectives below will be met:
Management of water utilities
Governance & sector reforms in Water and sewerage utilities
Innovations in management of water and sewerage
Private and public partnerships in the water and sewerage provision
Best practices from private water and sewerage providers
Challenges and opportunities for financing
Show case available technologies and innovations through exhibitions.
Assess progress plans that aim at reaching or at least getting closer to the set millennium goals as decided by the United Nations.