Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities Network
  • Africa has 9% of global freshwater resources, but 15% of the global population.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for over a third of the world's 884 million people who still do not get their drinking water from improved sources.
  • 26% of Africa's population (244 million) has a piped water connection on their premises.
  • Almost 20% of Sub-Saharan Africa relies on a water source that is more than 30 minutes away from the household.

The International Water Association (IWA)

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The International Water Association (IWA) is a worldwide network which provides water and sanitation professionals with opportunities to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the sector, share experiences and learn from others at conferences and workshops, and establish contacts for collaboration and partnership. The Association’s membership consists of leading companies, academic institutions and other organisations involved in the provision of water services and urban water management. There are at present over 10,000 individuals who are part of the network, who can become involved either via one of the many IWA Specialist Groups or through one IWA’s programmes managed by the Secretariat based in the Hague.

IWA sees the launch of the Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities Network as an excellent opportunity to engage with local government and encourage discussions between local authorities and utilities to develop coherent policies and implement strategies for sustainable and affordable service delivery and effective waste management systems. We see this as being particularly important as it is often the political and institutional aspects that act as constraints to the adoption of innovative technological and managerial solutions

The thematic activities of AWASLA relate closely to IWA’s existing programmes :

  • The Cities of the Future programmefocuses on water security for the World’s cities and how the design of water supply and wastewater management systems can be engineered to meet the needs of growing urban populations as well as promoting more efficient use of natural resources.
  • Linked closely to this is the Water, Energy and Climate Change programme which promotes more sustainable and water and energy efficient utilities and the Utilities programme, which provides support to water operators through specialist training, information about state-of-the-art technologies and management practices, and events such as the Utilities Leaders’ Forums.
  • Through the Urban Sanitation Initiative, IWA aims to stimulate a widespread transformation in urban sanitation promoting increased uptake of affordable and sustainable solutions that enable reuse and resource recovery as well as upholding public health and improved environmental management.

IWA acts as an international platform to disseminate information about and promote the actions of cities that lead the way with progressive approaches to tackle urban water and sanitation problems.  These ‘demonstration cities’ exemplify that the complexities of urban water management are not insurmountable given a concerted effort by local champions who are open to adopting innovative approaches.  Our involvement with the AWASLA will provide increased opportunity to further this agenda. IWA will provide technical support to support local authorities from the Association’s membership to develop realistic investment plans to extent service coverage and regulatory frameworks that enable public and private service providers to manage existing infrastructure.

Our aim is therefore to bridge the link between science & technology and innovation in practice and accelerate progress; providing examples of practicable solutions and good practices to other cities who can learn from the experiences in the demonstration cities. IWA is committed to working in a collaborative and complementary manner with the two other AWASLA founding partners - ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability - Africa and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) – as well as other associated organisations, in this timely initiative.