Special Issues

Special issues that AquaFed currently works on 

Eaux de Marseille, "Water Help" - emergency water supplies


1/ Gender, diversity, Women, Girls and Water

Today almost half the world’s women still have no adequate water and sanitation at home. Shortage, indignity, sickness, drudgery, deprivation – this is their water world. Women suffer the most from these deficiencies. Working for and with women, private water operators are engaged every day to change this. Delivering water and sanitation reliably changes a woman’s world.


AquaFed is proud to be a long-term partner for the IWA "Women in Water" programme.


Dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Hei-jin WOO, a Korean female engineer and scientist working in the water field, the prize is awarded annually by the International Water Association (IWA). In 2012, the 3rd Woman in Water award was handed to Mrs. Kusum Athurkorala, a pioneer of gender inclusion in the water sector.



In 2016 AquaFed and the Women for Water Partnerhip submitted a joint contribution to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation:



The Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Prof. Léo Heller, requested input on his proposed report on Gender Equality. AquaFed teamed up with Women for Water Partnership in this task. AquaFed member companies and WfWP member organisations WPLUS (Nepal) and Consam (Colombia) offered valuable input for the recommendations. 

AquaFed and WfWP provided two points of view: 

  • (i) equality in service provision in water and sanitation
  • (ii) equal access to jobs within the water sector 



AquaFed and WfWP shed light on gender equality, how to combat stereotypes and about the role of men and women. 


The more service provision diverges from full compliance, the greater become the inequalities between women and men. Women suffer more because of their biological needs, role in domestic life and the taboos and cultural biases, common in all societies.


The only sustainable way to ensure gender equality, tackle discrimination and eliminate abuses is to achieve the total satisfaction of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation for everyone, everywhere and at all times.  


To achieve this, our joint recommendations include: 

  • Governments to give priority to providing integrated water and sanitation services at all levels (through political commitment and prioritisation in planning, financing and service operation)
  • Public, private companies and CSOs/ CBOs and NGOs like women’s organizations to assist through advocacy and awareness raising and capacity development.
  • Businesses and organisations to apply gender equality policies and staff awareness.
  • Media to spread wider public awareness campaigns on the link between water and women.
  • The collection of disaggregated data on gender, level of income and location (rural, sub-urban-urban).
  • By involving women in formal and semiformal water and sanitation service delivery projects.

Interested to read more? You can download our submission here.


2/ Water and Jobs

under construction

3/ Emergency Situations and private operators efforts

Continuous and reliable performance of water and wastewater services is essential. Operators have to keep their services operating at all times, including during exceptional events such as storms, floods, droughts or accidental pollution. They work with public authorities in civil defence planning and in many cases have special equipment and trained teams to react to emergencies.



The case of the February 2010 earthquake in Chile is remarkable. There, an earthquake more powerful than the one that destroyed Port-au-Prince in Haiti earlier the same year, damaged water networks in a whole region of Chile. The local private water operators reacted immediately. In the areas affected, 87.5% of the water supply was restored and operating within 72 hours after the disaster. In addition, the cost of this recovery did not fall on the public budget.


4/ Pro-poor initiatives

under construction

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