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Safe Water Network made the case for decentralized water enterprises as a resilient global solution at World Water Week 2021

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New York, NY, August 27, 2021: Safe Water Network, a global water access nonprofit founded by the late actor/philanthropist Paul Newman, presented key findings on the resiliency of decentralized small water enterprises at Stockholm International Water Institute’s World Water Week 2021 on August 23-27. Safe Water Network’s World Water Week sessions included team members and partners representing North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Safe Water Network and USAID presented insights on evidence-based strategies for City Water Balance Planning (CWBP) from a partnership with the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board. A new CWBP e-toolkit, available at swealliance.org/icwbp, (password swn2021), is a decision support system tool that can be used by municipalities worldwide to address water security holistically through data-driven solutions.

Poonam Sewak, Vice President for Program & Partnerships of Safe Water Network India, said, “Carefully executed City Water Balance plans direct cities toward a circular economy on the concept of ONE Water, bringing in the benefits of social equity, building climate resilience, and environmental sustainability.”

Safe Water Network, Envicom Corporation, and Johns Hopkins University demonstrated a tool in development that utilizes Geographic Information System (GIS) as a cost-effective risk assessment tool for resiliency planning of water infrastructure. Safe Water Network also showcased, with Danone Communities, 1001 Fontaines, and Naandi Community Water Services, the flexibility and resiliency of decentralized small water enterprises to crises. In conversation with The World Bank and the Osprey Foundation, Safe Water Network and members of the global Community of Practice for small water enterprises (SWEs) released a joint report, “Keep the Water Flowing,” on the resiliency of the decentralized small water enterprise model in the face of COVID-19 and how implementers, communities, and donors collectively responded to keep water flowing. Members of the Community of Practice for SWEs include Jibu, Untapped, Water4, Water for Good, Water for People, and Water Mission.

“Small water enterprises are not only resilient, they played an active role in facilitating hygiene recommendations required to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Partnerships between the WASH service sector and government are key to strengthening the overall sector,” said Adrienne Lane, the Chief Strategy Officer at Water for Good.

Lauren Cuscuna, Program Manager at Safe Water Network, emphasized the importance of tapping into the resources and capabilities in the field during a crisis, saying, “Local partners were essential to keeping water flowing during COVID-19."

On the last day of World Water Week, leaders from Safe Water Network, PepsiCo, UNICEF, USAID, and Athena Infonomics discussed the challenges and opportunities they have encountered while working to bridge the gender gap in the water and sanitation workforce (public and private sector) through policy, regulation, and grassroots action.

Safe Water Network is committed to addressing the gap in water services delivery, which needlessly compromises the health and livelihoods of 2.1 billion people globally. With a focus on reaching rural small towns and peri-urban areas on the fringes of big cities and urban slums, Safe Water Network is advancing cost-effective, decentralized solutions that target these fast-growing areas where over a billion people lack a reliable supply of safe water. Visit safewaternetwork.org for more information.