As cities across the world swell at an unsustainable pace, creating unplanned and informal settlements, the challenge for the global water sector is to create innovative models for service delivery for water and sanitation that both protects natural resources and maintains the health of the urban poor.

Approximately one billion people inhabit these settlements, representing significant purchasing power. With the right combination of private sector expertise and NGO know-how, the service provider can be helped to create legitimate paying customers. Levels of service must be affordable, well designed and based on sound business principles, ensuring financial sustainability. Partnerships with the private sector are also part of the solution, especially as part of a phased programme when extension of services takes the longest.

At Water & Environment 2011: CIWEM's Annual Conference, John Martin, Director of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor at Halcrow, will be describing how modest budgets can bring about tangible improvements to extend services to this under served market. With financial assistance that leads to commercial gain, either through efficiency improvements or actual network expansion, there is an opportunity to deliver more for less with targets linked to tangible outputs such as percentage reduction in non-revenue water and the number of people with legalised connections. The WSUP model, targeted at providing 3.5 million people with clean water and sanitation by 2015, is ready for replication by other public-private partnerships.

Water & Environment 2011: CIWEM’s Annual Conference will focus on the Big Society and aims to provide a comprehensive response to the Government’s Programme.  The event takes place on 6th and 7th April 2011 and will include a mix of keynote speakers, offered papers, exhibitions and networking opportunities that will make this the key event for water and environment professionals.

Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, and Tony Juniper, environmentalist and former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth are just two of the confirmed keynote speakers to give their response to the Government’s programme. For more information, go to http://www.ciwem.org/events/annual-conference.aspx.

Source: The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)

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