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  • Analía Saker Stanig

Aguaconsult Newsletter Summer 2022

Hello! My name is Analía Saker Stanig, I joined Aguaconsult in November 2021 as a WASH consultant, and I am the guest editor of this newsletter. As a field WASH engineer in Colombia, I had the satisfaction of being part of projects that improved people’s lives by providing water and sanitation services. However, when put in perspective, I understood that these projects did not tackle the root of the issues and were not going to address communities’ structural problems that resulted in the lack of WASH services and increased vulnerability to climate change impacts. How can WASH initiatives, projects and programmes be designed to be sustainable over time and take into account a changing climate?

Climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH - refers to services that can withstand climate shocks or that are appropriately re-built within a changing climate context. Robust WASH systems can improve resilience to climate change. Strategic planning, adequate institutional arrangements, suitable regulations and sufficient financing and accountability are all key elements for WASH services to be sustainable and resilient in the face of climate-related hazards.

In this newsletter, I would like to share with you a summary of Aguaconsult’s most recent work in the WASH sector and a reflection on the importance of having robust WASH systems to better prepare for the impacts of climate change. This newsletter also includes the introduction of our most recent colleagues joining Aguaconsult;  Eléonore Motte and Kathi Welle.


Moving towards a WASH climate-resilient sector 

Strengthening Climate Resilient WASH Programming in Rwanda. Climate hazards, particularly droughts and floods, contribute to the rapid deterioration of water quality, the reduction of surface flows and groundwater recharge, which pose a threat to water security. In addition, the effects of climate change are wreaking havoc on water and sanitation systems, threatening progress made to date in expanding WASH services to all. The water sector in Rwanda is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change: water distribution systems are failing due to heavy floods and landslides; droughts are affecting the capacity of utilities to supply water, and the quality of water sources is deteriorating as a result of soil erosion. For this reason, UNICEF Rwanda commissioned Aguaconsult to perform a study to evaluate the risks that the WASH sector faces due to climate change. Based on these findings, viable adaptation strategies were developed to increase the resilience of WASH services.

Landscape review of GIZ’s approaches to Climate Resilience related to Water Resources and Sanitation Interventions. Although research and programming experience in climate-resilient WASH has increased in recent years, this area is still relatively less well documented. The German development agency, GIZ, commissioned Aguaconsult to help advance their knowledge base on the challenges, existing approaches and needs among GIZ (transboundary) water management and sanitation programmes that address climate resilience. The learnings produced by this consultancy will be central to informing the design and development of GIZ’s future programming and ensuring that this adequately considers the likely impacts of climate change in a proactive way. As a result of this project, nine factsheets and a report that showcased the most relevant approaches for WASH climate-resilient initiatives in GIZ were developed.


Financing the SDG 6 agenda

Mobilising finance is critical for countries to meet their commitment to the SDG 6 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Aguaconsult has provided support to the government of Mali in developing five national programmes setting sector targets and funding requirements for access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

We also supported the government of Kenya with the design of a costed Roadmap for rural sanitation up to 2030, with service level targets set for all 44 Counties. Aguaconsult has also collaborated with IRC on an Agence Française de Dévelopment initiative looking at the potential of National Development Banks in financing the sector and we are currently supporting the government of Viet Nam in formulating a funding and financing strategy for WASH services, including climate finance.


An enabling environment for WASH climate-resilient services


During the last six to nine months Aguaconsult has supported several strategic initiatives that aim at strengthening or generating an enabling environment for WASH resilient service delivery.

Technical Assistance to Welthungerhilfe’s WASH Systems Strengthening in Fragile and Developing Contexts. The equitable and sustainable provision of WASH services is dependent on strong and resilient WASH systems at multiple levels from local to national. Since 2016, Welthungerhilfe or WHH, has integrated WASH systems-strengthening projects and interventions into its diverse WASH portfolio. In December 2021, WHH significantly expanded its systems strengthening work with a multi-year funding from BMZ to work across a diverse set of interventions in India, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. Aguaconsult has provided long-term support to WHH and we are excited to expand this collaboration further by continuing with our technical assistance programme to WHH country offices and the global team.


Data for decision-making study. With the proliferation of data initiatives and tools in the WASH sector, the Osprey Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation funded a study to assess the extent to which such initiatives have a positive impact on decision-making in the sector. The study was led by Aguaconsult and carried out in collaboration with IRC of the Netherlands and analysed the application of different types of data tools and platforms in Colombia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The study included interviews with key decision-makers in national and local government to better understand their requirements and perspectives in the use of data and how this was affected by various factors and organizational considerations. The findings point to the need for designers of data initiatives and tools to better understand the “data – to decision-making pathway” and adapt more to the user “demand” for data, the form in which it is provided and, ultimately, the incentives and capacities to make use of the data. Click here for more information and to download the report.


The Water Supply and Sanitation Regulatory Landscape across Africa. Well-functioning regulatory arrangements are crucial in incentivising the delivery of safe, resilient and reliable WSS services and to provide a stable environment for consumers, operators, government and potential investors. However, there is comparatively limited up-to-date information on the different regulatory arrangements applied across Africa. This is limiting our understanding of common challenges and opportunities for best practices, to serve as models for replication in countries looking to improve services or institute necessary regulatory reforms. Within this context, an extensive study was undertaken for the Eastern and Southern African Water and Sanitation Regulators Association (ESAWAS) to detail the status of water supply and sanitation regulation in 54 African countries. A series of country and regional reports were produced which have informed a continent-wide synthesis report. This specifies each country’s regulatory arrangement as well as progress across vital areas such as the policy and legal backing for regulation, regulating different service providers and service delivery types, developing and applying regulatory mechanisms, and strengthening the regulatory environment. The report is now available here and a recording of the webinar to launch the continent-wide report is also available.



A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR. It is now almost twenty years since I founded Aguaconsult and started work from a desk in one corner of my small bedroom in Wivenhoe. The intervening years have been filled with interesting work, technically challenging projects and, most importantly, stimulating colleagues and partners from a range of organisations around the world, many of whom have become friends. As with any aspect of life, change and growth is always a good thing, even though it may not always feel like it at the time. This is just a teaser for advance news on some very significant developments which we will communicate in the next ‘special edition’ of the newsletter.

But in the meantime, I am very happy to welcome Analía who, despite only being with us a few short months, already feels like part of the family and is impressing us all with her quantitative data skills, insightful analysis, and ability to join seamlessly into a small company – and all this in English as a second language to her native Spanish. As well as Analía joining us this year, we welcome Eléonore Motte who is fresh from her Master’s degree at the London School of Economics and is already working on a number of projects bringing her bi-lingual capabilities as a French Anglophile. Our most recent hiring of Kathi Welle who comes to us from ITAD bringing with her many years of experience in monitoring and evaluation and the design of research methods in the WASH sector (and yet another language set to the

company in German!).

We are also happy to share that Julia has been appointed a new member of the JMP/GLAAS Strategic Advisory Group (SAG). WHO and UNICEF have recently completed a rigorous selection process to identify four (out of twelve) new members for the SAG and Julia is delighted to be one of them. She will be joining a team of experienced and influential members from different organizations across the globe to advise on the direction of this crucial global sector monitoring initiative.

We look forward to continued collaboration with you as part of our collective efforts to improve the delivery of sustainable WASH services for those most in need and to building strong, resilient national WASH systems to continue to deliver those services over time.    


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