Global WOPs Congress & General Assembly


The majority of people on earth get their most essential basic good – potable water – from water and sanitation operators. As cities grow and freshwater is under increasing stress, the work of this often under-valued actor is ever more central to our health and well-being.

The 3rd Global WOPs Congress is dedicated to the work of these service providers in contributing to our sustainable development. Utilities, donors, knowledge institutions and key urban water sector stakeholders from around the world will gather in Barcelona to advance knowledge, exchange experience, and initiate support for water and sanitation operators through Water Operators' Partnerships. 

The event will be held from September 16-18th, 2015 at Barcelona's Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site and will be conducted in English, French and Spanish. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being launched this year and water and sanitation operators set to play a major role in their implementation, the SDGs will be the focus of this year's Congress.



✓ Operators and Sustainable Urban Development

✓ New Roles for Operators in an Urban Era

✓ Sustainable Financing for Sustainable Operators


10 thematic sessions will cover a wide variety of issues related to the work of operators, WOPs and efforts towards Sustainable Development. Sanitation, finance, resilience, and integrated urban water management are just a few of the topics that will be covered in these sessions. Interpretation will be provided in English and Spanish or French. Find out more abour the thematic sessions.


✓ Africa (English / French Interpretation)

✓ Asia (English / Spanish Interpretation)

✓ Latin America (English / Spanish Interpretation)


Every 2 years, GWOPA holds a General Assembly, immediately following the Global WOPs Congress. During the General Assembly, half of GWOPA's International Steering Committee - composed of representatives from public water utilities from all regions, development partners, labour unions, civil society organizations and private operators - is turned over through elections. More information on the General Assembly or becoming a candidate for the GWOPA Steering Committee will be available online prior to the event. More about the International Steering Committee.


✓ Prominent speakers from Governments, the United Nations System and GWOPA partners
✓ Learning and Exchange amongst WOPs Practitioners
✓ Partnerships Launching
✓ Utility Matchmaking
✓ French, Spanish and English Interpretation for most sessions
✓ Social Events and Barcelona Water Tour




The event will welcome those practicing, supporting, studying or curious about using not-for-profit peer support between water operators to improve global water and sanitation services, including:

✓ Water and wastewater utilities
✓ Local and National Governments
✓ Donors and financial institutions
✓ Knowledge and academic institutions in the water and sanitation sector
✓ Civil society organizations
✓ Labour Unions


The Congress is a unique occasion to meet with a wide variety of actors from the water and sanitation and development sectors. GWOPA will facilitate these exchanges by providing areas for bilateral meetings and open working spaces. 

Registered participants will also be able to display material (brochures only) in the networking space. If you would like to send publications in advance, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


A multi-cultural city, Barcelona is rich in history, architecture and tradition, and is one of the main industry hubs in the Mediterranean. The city is on the frontline of innovative urban practices and management as it serves the 5 million people living in the metropolitan area. It also hosts the GWOPA Secretariat. 

The Congress and General Assembly will be held in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site (Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau), the biggest Art Nouveau site in the world. Please use the entrance at the corner of Sant Antoni Maria Claret and Cartagena, as shown in the map on the left.

Only registered participants will be able to access the building and all participants will be asked to show their identification (passport, ID card) on the first day.

More information on Barcelona and Sant Pau

Follow us on Twitter @gwopa or Facebook to receive updates on the Congress or send an email to the Congress organizers at congress[at] if you have any inquiries.


Participation in the conference is free of charge, however space is limited and reserved for those involved and/or interested in WOPs or with experience in capacity development, water access or other topics related to the Congress. All those interested in participating are encouraged to register early. Registration is now open.

Registered participants will be given promotional codes to reserve rooms at negotiated rates in a selected number of hotels in Barcelona. September is still peak season in Barcelona and participants are advised to secure accommodation as early as possible.

More information on practical questions and logistics


Report from the 2nd Congress

Highlights from the Congress 

More about the 2nd WOPs Congress

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