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Water Integrity: A Job for the Brave

A Stockholm Water Front article. By Sanna Gustafsson, SIWI

Copyright - Ricardo Spencer

Lack of integrity in water management has a huge cost for society, in lost lives and stalled development. Still, where corruption is entrenched, promoting fair practices can be met with strong resistance. Stockholm Water Front met two people with first-hand experience during the first African Water Integrity Summit in Lusaka. They shared their experiences of what it takes to address institutionally entrenched corruption.

Read the full article – download the latest Stockholm Water Front publication.

Find out more about the 1st African Water Integrity Summit and the case studies presented at the event.

Video: Enhancing integrity in Water Stewardship Initiatives

Water stewardship Initiatives (WSI) involving the public, private sector and civil society are increasingly being started to address shared challenges in managing water resources.

We believe integrity is a crucial building block to enable equitable and sustainable outcomes from these Water Stewardship Initiatives.

To further develop integrity and transparency in WSIs, we therefore partnered with the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Water Witness International, Pegasys Institute, and Partnerships in Practice, Ltd, to carry out an applied research project aimed at developing an integrity management framework and practical supporting guidance for WSIs.

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Call for Applications for the Swiss Environment Award 2014

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Each year, the Swiss Environment Foundation grants the Swiss Environment Award to individuals, companies or organisations, that contribute outstandingly to the protection and the conservation of nature and the environment.

In 2014, this prestigious award – endowed with CHF 30’000 CHF – will have a special focus on the reduction of global water consumption.

Within this framework, young people from all over Europe (especially Germany, Norway and Switzerland) are invited to develop and submit innovative ideas on how to reduce water consumption.

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Plans, money and flaws in the system

This blog entry was written by Janek Hermann-Friede, Monitoring, Programme Planning, Focal Point East Africa Coordinator at WIN.

Picture a parliamentarian, representatives of the ministry responsible for water, a consultant that developed an anti-corruption strategy for the water sector, experts from national and international NGOs, different donor representatives and a number of other stakeholders at the rear end of a long conference room. They all gathered to discuss integrity risks in water sector planning and budgeting. At the other end of the same room imagine a group of officials from provincial government in a lively discussion on the same topic. Now leave this room and picture a round table just outside the conference room, with a group of officials and technical water professionals from the district level. And guess what, they are engaged in the same discussion. This was the setup that absorbed participants during an afternoon session of a three day workshop on water integrity that was jointly organised by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, IRC, WaterLex and WIN, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Director of Water of the Ministry of Planning and Housing opened the workshop and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, Catarina Albuquerque, contributed a video message on the link between water integrity and the human rights that can be accessed here.

Analysing the complexity of water sector planning, budgeting and monitoring in the Mozambique water sector

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The Bill of Confusion

Do you know what you are paying for when you you receive your water bill and do you have access to information about water services’ tariffs? Sahana Singh highlights how unclear water utility bills can be in India. Access to information is not only about receiving the bill (which is already a positive thing) but to receive in a eligible and comprehensive format so that water users can make sense of the information given to them. Read more directly on her page.

Asian Water and Sanitation

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A look at the utility invoices sent out to consumers in many cities makes it clear why water is an under-valued resource. The unclear language and confusing acronyms do nothing to educate or inform. Some invoices do not even specify whether they use actual readings or estimates. These pieces of paper seem to be designed to negatively impact the consumers’ trust in the water quality and their willingness to pay.

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How the Human Right to Water and Sanitation gives a new drive for water integrity

Mathare Valley © Daniel Nordmann

This blog entry was written by Daniel Nordmann, GIZ trainee seconded to the Water Integrity Network in September and October 2012.

The daily reality of most of the Kenyans living in the Mathare slum, on the outskirts of Nairobi, is one of informal water supply, where prices, quality and reliability of the water are not ensured. The lack of sanitation facilities forces people to resort to “flying toilets”, plastic bags used for defecation which are thrown into ditches, or to use an open field as a “public toilet”. This is not only the daily life of the residents of Mathare, but it is also the reality for many of the one billion slum dwellers around the globe. To tackle this problem, the United Nations General Assembly has declared access to Water and Sanitation a Human Right in 2010.

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What is keeping Nanyuki’s water and sewerage services from improving?

This news item was written by Lillian Onyango in combination with her participation in the training on water integrity for journalists in East Africa that took place in July 2012 in Kenya.

The running of Nanyuki’s water and sewerage services changed five years ago. The town’s water supply and sanitation status has considerably improved but its progress is being chocked.

Francis Maina is the Managing Director at Nanyuki Water and Sewerage Services Limited (Nawasco). He has held that position for the last for three years, but says he is restricted in giving his best to the company.

Water services in Nanyuki, like all other towns in Kenya, were run by Municipal Councils Water and Sewerage departments. Later, with the enactment of the Water Act in 2002, the municipals had to form companies to run this function on their behalf.

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Nanyuki Town Water Supply: A Pride to Its Residents

This news item was written by Sarah Tumwebaze and Joseph Ngome in combination with their participation in the training on water integrity for journalists in East Africa that took place in July 2012 in Kenya.

Unlike other cities and towns in Kenya that experience acute water shortage daily, Nanyuki town residents are a happier lot. They have smiling faces because their water supply is running every day and they receive adequate and clean water for their domestic use and other industrial purposes. Almost every household has running water in Nanyuki.

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Move to keep water clean

Written by Ramesh Kumar Sharma, a member of the WIN Internationa Steering Committee. Ramesh is based in Nepal and is Regional Manager in the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Fund Development Board,Nepal, a World Bank-funded programme

Water is not only the essence of life, but also the essence of livelihood and economy. Though water is a gift from nature, its usage must be equitable and justifiable on this planet. Thus, it is very important to make the management of water resources transparent and free of corruption to ensure equitable access of all people, especially of the poor, to this life resource and to stop environmental destruction from over exploitation of water resources.

Through the Global Corruption Report 2008, this issue of corruption in the water sector has been highlighted world over at global, national and local levels and its relevance has been realized by all countries, including Nepal.

The poor are also the most affected by corruption, as they have negligible say in welfare policy making and fund distribution. They are also the least empowered to influence the decision makers, the service providers and the grievance handlers.

Many countries have constitutional anti-corruption agencies or organizations to fight corruption. However, a watchful support from the civil society is always vital for them to be effective and dynamic. Therefore, the task comes as making multi stakeholder network and continuous sharing of knowledge to scale up advocacy in different contexts of the water problem. The anti-corruption agencies and policy makers must rise above political games and power play to make true impact. In this respect, this blog is opening up a common platform for all of us to meet, learn and socially contribute to improve the governance of the water sector.

In fact, we all can contribute to our nations and MDGs, if we choose to be a little more proactive and supportive of the anti-corruption movement, which is now understood as the global, national and local humanitarian need of the hour.

In water sector, we look forward to learn and scale up the best practices, use and revitalize the anti-corruption tools and methodologies at all levels of water governance and to link anti-corruption movement to the millennium development goals, like poverty reduction. This platform provided by the blog may help in developing the leadership, capacity and knowledge and to raise the voices for higher advocacy, as the members grow and the interactions become intense. This will be a great support to TI and WIN in the fight against corruption and to improve accountability and transparency in water sector governance. Like all other WIN members and water sector activists, I also look forward to learn from each others’ experiences.