Strengthening the MENA water sector through regional networking and training (ACWUA WANT)

Project description

Title: Strengthening the MENA water sector through regional networking and training (ACWUA-WANT)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region
Lead executing agency: Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA)
Overall term: 2014 to 2015


More than 110 water utilities, authorities and ministries in the Maghreb region, Middle East and Gulf states belong to the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA). The association supports its members in becoming more efficient by providing comprehensive capacity building measures, thus helping to improve water supply and wastewater management in the region. Even though established structures are in place and the amount of training available has increased, ACWUA has been unable to independently guarantee development and marketing of these training products to date. The reasons are manifold; many training activities tend to focus more on what is available than what is needed because of donor influence. The ACWUA secretariat also lacks skills and resources, while the available regional expertise has not been tapped adequately to date.


The ACWUA secretariat independently markets the instruments that have been developed (e.g. regulatory frameworks and standards) and the associated training products in partnership with its members. These instruments can make businesses more effective and offer customers better water supply and wastewater management services.


ACWUA WANT supports measures to develop extensive expertise in the commercial and technical management of water utilities. This work involves:

  1. supporting key core processes in the water sector, such as providing safe drinking water (compliance with technical standards, business certifications and regulatory frameworks governing energy efficiency),
  2. fosters processes to steer the water sector, such as continuing education on organisational development and sector governance, developing regulations, technical standards and systems for benchmarking water utilities’ indicators,
  3. launching supporting processes, such as including private sector enterprises in the water sector, setting up information systems, enhancing public relations work and internal communication and developing new innovative learning platforms such as e-learning and blended learning.

ACWUA WANT works with the ACWUA secretariat and ACWUA water utilities’ training facilities at several levels and deploys the professional expertise available in the region in this process. This work involves ACWUA’s different technical working groups and regional expert and training teams specialised in issues such as water integrity, urban sanitation and water utility management.

The project is also obtaining expertise from German water associations (DWA and DVGW) to ensure that water quality meets international standards. Members of the BMZ-supported German Water Partnership, including German water utilities, manufacturers and consultancy offices and their private sector partners in the MENA region, play a part at ACWUA conferences, at trade events like the Arab Water Week and at training sessions.


ACWUA’s independence and its capacity to finance itself are improved. The association uses the structures set out in its statutes to develop needs-based instruments (e.g. standards, regulatory frameworks and good practices) in order to optimise the efficiency of water utilities in the MENA region. It offers its members training sessions addressing these issues and markets this training independently. Attendees covering their own fees help to finance ACWUA. The association is in a position to develop instruments and training products independently in the future. These measures have contributed towards ACWUA members using water more efficiently, for instance in terms of energy efficiency, technical safety management (TSM), benchmarking operating data, sanitation and using e-learning as a modern learning format.

Further information