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Fighting COVID together – are utilities getting the support they need?

12 speakers

About the session

Languages: EN, FR, SP

In times of a pandemic that hits everyone, everywhere, water operators around the globe are making unprecedented efforts to ensure the continuity and expansion of services. Their efforts range from extending distribution networks, communicating about good hygiene to provision of mobile service stations and procuring the critical materials. They often require immediate organizational and operational adjustments: from the setup of crisis units and development of emergency strategies to adaptation to a permanently evolving, uncertain situation. Most urgent measures involve not only expanding service to vulnerable communities, but also halting disconnections and keeping staff safe. This Congress session intends to capture all the most relevant and efficient operators’ responses to the effects of the pandemic such as limited access to safe WASH services, ruptures in supply chains and interruptions of services, or a decline in quality of response due to restricted or no movement of utility staff.

The Session will also assess the secondary effects of the pandemics. As most of the measures applied to address the primary effects of the pandemics, are adding substantial financial burden on water and sanitation operators, these can compromise their ability to sustain its public services in the long term. While working hard to secure continuous services, water operators are being affected with a loss of revenue that threatens its future operational and capital expenditures, which will almost certainly result in less investments.

Agenda :
Welcome by UN-Habitat/GWOPA: Mr. Lars Stordal, Programme Officer

Moderator: Mr. Peter Macy, Co-founder & President, ROCKBlue

Introduction: Dr. Susan Spronk, Associate Professor, International Development and Global Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa. Research Associate with the Municipal Services Project.

First Panel | Operators' Response During Pandemic

Mr. Jonathan Kampata, Managing Director, Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company, Zambia
Mr. Valentine Nana Kaupa, Corporate Planning Manager, Lilongwe Water Board, Malawi
Ms. Margaret Maina, Managing Director, Limuru Water and Sewerage Company, Kenya
Ms. Marieke van Nood, Regional Director, World Waternet and Mr. Ephantus M. Mugo, Donor Projects Manager, Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company, Kenya

Second Panel | Long-term Impact on Financial Sustainability

Mr. Kasenga Hara, Executive Secretary, Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation Regulators Association
Mr. Mr. Gladwell Mphande, Director of Finance, Lilongwe Water Board, Malawi
Mr. Cosmas Makala, Director of Finance, Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company, Zambia

Q&A and Discussion

Summary and wrap-up
Dr. Saravanan V. Subramanian, Senior Researcher, German Development Institute