International UN-Water Conference. Water in the Green Economy in Practice: Towards Rio+20. 3-5 October 2011

Case summaries by tool

This table Documento PDF includes cases presented during the conference as well as additional cases which illustrate successful implementation of the tools. These will contribute to the preparation of input for the Rio+20 conference.

Full cases by tool

Economic incentives in water management to support change towards green growth

Case 1: Water pricing and command and control for water demand management in cities and agriculture in Israel Documento PDF
This case describes water pricing as an approach to manage water demand in Israel. Water is metered everywhere and everyone has to pay. Water is managed by the Water Authority, under the Ministry of Infrastructure. It demonstrates that the Israeli experience in conserving water is a success, although challenges also exist such as implementation problems with pricing, and decisions at times depend on other social and political goals. Israel has increased prices by 40% this year. Agriculture has historically used around 70% of Israeli water. In recent years, the agricultural sector has relied more on recycled and saline water sources for irrigation, accounting for about 50% of total water demand for irrigation.

Interviewing James Horne, Member of the Australian Water Information Advisory Committee

Case 2: Trading and step by step legal reform on water use rights in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia Documento PDF
This case highlights trading of water use right to provide opportunities for water resources to be allocated between competing uses, and secured for human consumption, irrigated agriculture and the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. ). It is estimated in 2007/8 in the southern Murray-Darling Basin that over 40% of the available water was traded.

Case 3: Subsidies for water infrastructures as an engine of growth in South Africa Documento PDF
This case focuses on the use of subsidies for key infrastructures as an important tool to realize the potential of water as an engine of growth in South Africa. It concludes that infrastructure development has enabled South Africans to manage the water resources, both by storing water during the wet season for use during the dry and by transporting it from further afield. Today the system supports around 60% of the country's economy and 20 million people, 40% of the population.

What reforms for green jobs?

Interviewing Roel S. Espiritu, Head of Labour Relations of Maynilad Water Services, Philippines

Case 1: Private water utilities in the Philippines: Maynilad water district Documento PDF
This case describes the successful privatization of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems in greater Metro Manila area in Philippines. As an approach to conflict management and resolution, it has been standard practice for management and workers unions to engage in dialogue with the management of water utilities to resolve work-related problems and conflict, without seeking mediation from government. The management, unions and workers together have successfully combated the high rate of non-revenue water (NRW). One of the results of the project was that the level of NRW has been reduced from 66% in 2007 to 47.8% in 2011. In 2007, Manynilad had to produce 4,500 litres per day for each individual service connection. Now it only has to produce 2,500 litres per day. This represents a reduction of 44% in Maynilad's water demand.
Overview of the case available in Spanish.

Case 2: UN Joint Water and Sanitation Programme for the MDGs in Panama Documento PDF
This case introduces the joint water and sanitation programme in Panama that involves indigenous rural communities in water management, empowered to be partners rather than beneficiaries. The community participation takes place in both design and construction. Specialists in indigenous capacity building have built a network of facilitators to promote entrepreneurship, which generates employment and also supports local development. In the programme, workshops were set up and information toolkits were published to encourage sustainable use of water and sanitation services.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Sustainable financing

Case 1: Social contract formulas in rural areas: the India Naandi Foundation water treatment plants Documento PDF
This case describes the practice that Naandi Foundation in partnership with private firms combines cost-effective water purification technology with a community-driven and performance-based approach for drinking water treatment and provision. The output-based approach requires that tariffs paid by users for consumption cover the costs of operation and maintenance, user-fee collection, and education and communication activities with key stakeholders and vulnerable groups. As of 2010, Naandi had 300 plants serving safe drinking water to 393,000 households.

Case 2: Output-based aid: extending water and sanitation services to the poor in peri-urban Morocco Documento PDF
This case highlights the output-based aid subsidy approach to improve the water and sanitation services to the poor peri-urban communities in Morocco. Operators pre-financed expansion of services and a pre-agreed output-based Aid subsidy was disbursed once outputs were achieved – 60% upon a functioning household connection and 40% upon 6 months of service, independently verified. The subsidy allowed for reduced connection fees, bridging the gap between capacity to pay and actual cost of connection. The pilot provided subsidized access to water supply to a total of 10,484 households and sanitation services to a total of 9,016 households, benefitting more than 52,000 people.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Interviewing Diego Fernandez, Economist, University of El Valle, Colombia

Case 3: Pro-poor financing and tariffs in Medellin, Colombia Documento PDF
Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) , a service provider owned by the Municipality of Medellin have designed a number of programs aimed to increase water services coverage, improve efficiencies, and target low-income households and peri-urban areas. Initiatives include a program offering long-term credit at low rates to low income populations for construction of water and sanitation networks and connections to public utilities; a program providing people with low payment capacity and bill debts access to low cost financing; a program offering credit at competitive rates for home improvements and efficient appliances; contracting small community organizations for work related to network expansion, operation and maintenance in water and sanitation services; and provision of public water services to peri-urban areas. These initiatives have resulted in substantial economic, social and environmental benefits. For example, during 1998-2010, 10,163 drinking water and 13,917 sanitation domestic connections were made, benefitting 55,670 people and contributing to improved welfare of low-income groups. Programs have effectively targeted low income groups and provided credit with low interest rates and payment flexibility to people who otherwise would not be eligible for financing.

Investments and fiscal measures for the protection and improvement of biodiversity to promote green growth

Interviewing Batula Awale, Manager, Freshwater Programme, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Kenya

Case 1: Payment for Environmental Services pilot project in Lake Naivasha basin, Kenya Documento PDF
This case introduces the pilot Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme which provides a financial mechanism for payments for watershed services in Lake Naivasha Basin, Kenya. This scheme is developed by WWF-Kenya and CARE-Kenya together with local partners. Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association – on behalf of ecosystem service beneficiaries – agreed to compensate small-scale landowners/farmers, to forego some potential income for managing their land to provide good quality water to downstream users. The first incentive rewarded 470 farmers and the second benefited 504 farmers.
Overview of the case available in Spanish.

Interviewing Pablo Lloret, Secretary of the Water Protection Fund (FONAG)

Case 2: FONAG – The Fund for the Protection of Water, Ecuador Documento PDF
This case describes that the private trust provides a stable, long-term financial mechanism, using revenues (interest and investments) derived from its equity to co-finance activities aimed at maintaining the hydrographic basins that supply the water needs of Quito Metropolitan District and its surrounding area of influence. FONAG works to ensure the provision of a quality by supporting actions directed at protecting water resources, based on the principles of long-term natural sustainability. Maintenance of water quality and quantity in river and associated ecosystems improves conservation status of freshwater habitats and the species that depend on them.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Case 3: Payment for Forest Ecosystem Services (PFES): pilot implementation in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam Documento PDF
This case describes a sustainable PES-based (Payment for Forest Ecosystem Services, PFES) financing mechanism explicitly designed to maintain biodiversity at a landscape level in south-east Vietnam. Three forested watersheds in the upstream area of the Dong Nai River Basin were selected as pilot sites. Three types of forest environmental services were included in the project: water regulation, soil protection and scenic landscape aesthetics. Hydropower and water supply companies are among the principal beneficiaries of the ecosystem services provided by forested areas and make the greatest financial contribution towards safeguarding those services. The project supported natural resource management and conservation in ways that provided real economic opportunities to rural communities, using sustainable financing targeted at poverty reduction. PFES has given local stakeholders a significant role in managing those forest resources that contribute to their livelihoods, helping to ensure continued local support for conservation.

Interviewing Delia Catacutan, Social Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre

Case 4: Rewards for watershed services in Sumberjaya, Indonesia Documento PDF
This case introduces a 'Rewards for Use of, and shared investment in Pro-poor Environmental Services' or RUPES project for watershed service provision, which was used to meet the multiple goals of coffee farmers, local government, district forestry, and the hydropower company, in Sumberjaya, Indonesia. This project aims to integrate rewards for environmental services (ES) into development programs to alleviate rural poverty and protect the natural environment. At the field level, the Sumberjaya ES program is one amongst a number of pilot ES rewards schemes carried out by NGOs. The RUPES project is composed of three programs: the Community Forestry Program (HKm), the River Care Program, and the Soil Conservation Program. In all three programmes, local people directly benefit from higher yields in the multi-strata coffee production system and cash payments from soil erosion control and sediment reduction. The payments also represent an increment in household incomes.

The contribution of water technology to job creation and development of enterprises

Case 1: Improvement of water supply through a GIS-based monitoring and control system for water loss reduction in Africa. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Documento PDF
This case highlights a pilot project that has been implemented to reduce water losses within the distribution system of the municipal utility in Quagadougou. The components of the process include leak detection devices, pressure and flow control sensors with real-time and online data transmission, automated pressure valves, and an intelligent GIS-based computerised system to steer the whole process. Local jobs were created through the investment in and continuous operations of the water loss reduction programme. The programme also improved water efficiency, water supply and attitude amongst customers, awareness of the importance of protecting water resources and caring for public water supply property.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Interviewing Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat, India

Case 2: The Role of Water Technology in Development: A Case Study in Gujarat, India Documento PDF
This case introduces technical initiative 'State Wide Drinking Water Grid' for bulk water transmission from sustainable surface water resources to water scarce and poor water quality habitations implemented in Gujarat, India. The state also established the Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO), which was a significant shift in the role of governance from provider to facilitator by empowering village level institutions through extensive capacity building and pro-active facilitation. The initiative results in a Reduction in number of villages under tanker water supply from 3961 in 2002-03 to 326 in 2008-09 and reduction in costs of tanker water supply from 10 million US$ to just 0.25 million US$ 96% saving.

Case 3: Web-based system for water and environmental studies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a main focus on Egypt Documento PDF
This case introduces an EU-funded web-based Learning Management System (LMS) for water and environmental studies, initiated by a partnership of institutions from Germany and Egypt. The system provides online courses to cover topics such as IWRM, EIA, water quality, sustainable management of resources, gender issues, socio-economics, desalination, water treatment, etc. Knowledge of environmental and water management supports newly created green jobs. Students have started businesses for decentralized water treatment units for rural areas. The universities have already signed different agreements with the local water and environment companies/consultancies to supply them with engineers with specific qualifications.
Overview of the case available in Spanish.

Case 4: Industrial wastewater reclamation technology for urban irrigation in Namibia Documento PDF
This case focuses on a wastewater reclamation plant used for treating industrial water for reuse in agriculture in Namibia. The technical components of the process are conventional mechanical treatment (buffer tank, robust type screening and sand trap), advanced biological treatment (membrane bioreactor, equipped with instrumentation for remote control, automation and easy operations onsite, compact final settlement tank and post-disinfection through UV (with additional chlorination on request). Economic benefits derived from the project include an increase in land value (from 2,500 to 20,000 EUR per ha) due to increased availability of water for agricultural use. It also resulted in the creation of new jobs and businesses. Water reuse has resulted in significant benefits for the environment due to the reduction of fresh water withdrawals and the elimination of contaminated wastewater discharge.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Interviewing Yang Hongbin, Director of Science and Technology and Environmental Protection Department, China

Case 5: Green economic practices of the Three Gorges Project in China Documento PDF
This case describes the green economic practice of The Three Gorges Hydropower Complex Project (TGP) in China. The TGP is the essential backbone engineering project for restoring and developing the Yangtze River, producing significant integrated benefits, including flood control, power generation, and navigation facilitation. The TGP is built on the strength of advances in science and technology, and has, in turn, driven the advancement of science and technology. Since the commencement of the operations of its first batch of generating units in July 2003, the Three Gorges Hydropower Plant has produced a cumulative total of 450 billion kWh of electricity (as of the end of 2010), equivalent to one-tenth of China's total power production in 2009. Water storage in the Three Gorges Reservoir has also strongly facilitated navigation along the Yangtze River and the development of the regional economy. This project creates both positive and negative environmental impacts, but plays an important role in flood control and disaster reduction. Poverty reduction is also significant, and the local economy has been enhanced. In 2009, non-agricultural sectors accounted for 87.5 percent of the reservoir's economy, up 16.5 percentage points from 1996. Also in 2009, industry became a pillar of the local economy, accounting for 54.3 percent of the local economy, up 13.9 percentage points from 1996. In the same year, the area's GDP hit RMB 276.466 billion, representing a 515 percent growth from 1996 and an average annual growth of 12.1 percent.

Case 6: Hydropower for the green economy: a new approach to capacity building and sustainable resource development Documento PDF
This case presents the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol 2010, a globally applicable framework for assessing the sustainability of hydropower projects. The Protocol enables project operators to assess the sustainability of projects according to a range of sustainability topics and to get an overview of where current operations meet basic good practice and proven best practice, as well as scope for improvement. Sustainable hydropower plays a significant and growing role in the green economy and the last decade has provided the sector with insight on lessons learned from previous tools and applications. Moreover, the Protocol has benefitted from significant multi-stakeholder engagement during its development, and these stakeholders continue as members of the committee governing the Protocol.

Case 7: ZINNAE: Zaragoza Urban Cluster for Efficient Water Use Documento PDF
This case describes the creation of an Urban Cluster for the Efficient Use of Water in Zaragoza (ZINNAE). The mission of this cluster is to promote efficient and sustainable water use and associated energy use in urbanized areas of Zaragoza, enabling the collaboration of different public and private actors, starting from knowledge generation, demonstrative projects and innovative solutions. The vision is to become a leading international example of collaboration, knowledge management and innovation for efficient and sustainable water use in urbanized areas as well as a driver of quality employment for Zaragoza. ZINNAE has an established membership including twenty six public and private entities, which take part in the water management in the urban area. ZINNAE promote active cooperation among its members, facilitating bilateral or multilateral initiatives which contribute to the overall targets established in the Strategic Plan 2010-2013.

Water and the green economy in the ESCWA region

Case 1: Reform of the urban water supply and sanitation sector in Yemen Documento PDF
This case summarizes the experience of on-going reform in the urban water supply and sanitation (UWSS) sector in Yemen. The reform is supported financially and technically by several international players including the GIZ, World Bank, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN). The reform has dramatically reshaped the UWSS sector shifting power away from a central authority to local agencies. Better customer services, more financial stability, and better protection of the least advantaged groups are some of the most positive outcomes of the reform initiative. As a result, water supply coverage rates increased from 47% in 2002 to 71% in 2007, and sanitation coverage rates increased from 25% to 52%.

Case 2: Capacity development in the Arab Region: The role of ACWUA in promoting the exchange of experiences and expertise Documento PDF
This case explores the role of the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA) in tackling the severe water challenges faced in the Arab region. ACWUA was founded in 2009 by key water sector representatives in the Arab region and serves as a platform for water utilities to communicate and exchange experiences. The initiative uses a range of capacity building tools to improve regional cooperation and promote best practice with the overall objective of improving the efficiency and levels of service of water supply and sanitation provision.

Water and the green economy in the LAC region

Case 1: Greening (ecologización) the economic regulation for the provision of drinking water and sanitation services in Peru: lessons from SUNASS (in Spanish) Documento PDFDisponible en español
This case covers an array of economic and policy instruments implemented in Peru. Tools being used include the water footprint and economic valuation of environmental costs of water utilities. The instruments generate a range of economic, environmental and social benefits, including implementing payment for environmental services scheme in various basins, generating new investments to secure water sources and new business opportunities within the country's free trade agreements.

Interviewing Elisa Colom, Coordinator of the Advisory Group of the Specific Water Cabinet, Government of Guatemala

Case 2: Design and approval of the Multi-annual Sectoral Plan for Water and the Environment of the Republic of Guatemala and the creation of the Water Advisory Group (Gabinete Específico del Agua GEA) (in Spanish) Documento PDFDisponible en español
This case focuses on the Multi-annual Sectoral Plan for Water and the Environment (PSMAA). This plan was designed to reorganize the development of the environment and water sector and to provide a strategic path in order to achieve results by improving organizational performance within the goods and services framework entitled by law. The advisory group (GEA) is created to enable the efficient management of water resources and to ensure its governance promotes the economic and social development of the country. The improvement of the provision of water and sanitation services enhances the social and economic conditions of communities.

Water planning to support the transition towards green growth

Interviewing Oudomsack Philavong, Assistant Director General, Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Lao PDR

Case 1: Water planning in LAO PDR Documento PDF
This case introduces water planning within the framework of IWRM that is a key instrument for tacking pressures on water resources in Lao. This planning framework focuses on participatory planning, and involves cooperation between riparian countries for management of the Mekong River Basin. The planning practice lead to the guarantee of maintenance and recovery of water quality through better enforcement of regulations, maintenance of the water quality and quantity flowing to the Mekong delta and reduction in floods risks.

Interviewing Yoon-Jung Cha, Office of National River Restoration, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, Korea.

Case 2: A comprehensive water resources management: the four major rivers restoration of Korea Documento PDF
This case describes a river restoration program, which is to restore the Han River, Nakdong River, Geum River and Yeongsan River to provide water security, flood control and ecosystem vitality. The project will also prevent natural disasters, such as floods and droughts, protect the environment and promote historical and cultural tourism. The project seeks to achieve, by 2012, a 90 percent increase in water quality (BOD less than 3ppm) by expanding sewage treatment facilities and establishing green algae reduction facilities. More than 929 km of national streams will be restored as part of the Four Major River Restoration Project. It is expected that the project will create 340,000 jobs and generate an estimated KRW 40 trillion of economic benefits.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Case 3: Water planning towards a green economy in the Ebro River Basin Documento PDF
This case highlights water planning as a key tool in the productive transformation and economic development in the Ebro river basin. Water planning has responded to many challenges in different ways in the Ebro River Basin, including: the setting of an institutional framework for transparent stakeholder involvement and public participation; establishing ambitious environmental objectives; creating opportunities for productive uses respecting environmental standards; the development of a strategy to manage uncertainty including drought management and flood control; and the identification, assessment and selection of projects to restore the water environment. Public participation needs to be considered a 'learning by doing' process and substantial advances are expected as information and participation skills improve through time. The coordination of agricultural, land use, energy and other sectoral policies with the water policy framework still needs to be achieved.
Overview of the case available in Spanish Documento PDFDisponible en español.

Interviewing Adrian Cashman, Senior Lecturer in Water Resources Management, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), University of West Indies, Barbados

Case 4: The scope for greening Barbados' economy Documento PDF
Barbados is a water scarce and densely populated Small Island Developing State (SIDS) with an open economy dependent on tourism and its use of its tropical island attributes, the importation of fossil fuels and a substantial part of its nutritional needs. The challenge facing the country is how to respond in a way that is sustainable, provides increased employment opportunities in a way that does not compromise the country's environmental resources whilst at the same time optimising their use and contributes to the well-being of citizens. In 2009 the then Prime Minister announced his vision for Barbados to become "the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean". Following this the Government of Barbados initiated a Scoping Study to map out how the late Prime Minister's vision could be achieved.