Most utilities in developing countries suffer from a number of interrelated institutional weaknesses, including inadequate cost recovery compounded by a low customer base and limited physical coverage, dilapidated physical infrastructure, high levels of unaccounted for water, the low skill levels of the staff and poor customer relations, among others. There is also the inability to serve the needs of the urban poor, the main targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Fostering collaboration between Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities is a vital element in ensuring exchange of experiences between performing and non-performing utilities. The need for creating a mechanism for the collaboration of water utilities is highlighted in the “Hashimoto Action Plan” which was announced by the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) during the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico.

One of the recommendations of the Hashimoto Action Plan was the establishment of a global mechanism to promote water operators partnerships (WOPs). The rationale behind the WOPs mechanism is that most of the capacity for improving water and sanitation services lies with the operators themselves. It also builds on the fact that about 90% of all utilities are publicly managed, and that even modest improvements in these utilities will go a long way in contributing to meeting the internationally agreed development goals and targets for water and sanitation. Thus the WOPs are to be based on mechanisms to enable operators to systematically communicate amongst themselves and to share their experiences and learn from each others’ practices for the benefit of all.

The Global Water Operator’s Partnership Alliance brings together a diversity of actors – networks, associations, financial institutions, and research and expert organisations - that stand to enrich WOPs with their knowledge and resources. Water Operators’ Partnerships are being promoted by a global alliance of partners who believe in WOPs and are committed to supporting them. The Global WOPs alliance aims to build on the relative strengths of each of its partners to make WOPs work.


Full text of GWOPA Charter (as of October 2013)

GWOPA Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct in French -GWOPA principes directeurs et code de conduite

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