AWWA Project Empowers African Water Utilities to Practice Sustainable Management

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) spearheaded a transformative initiative in Africa over the past several months, empowering water utilities and promoting sustainable water management practices.

Training empowers African utilities (Photo: AWWA)

In collaboration with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and non-profit ROCKBlue, AWWA provided workshops aimed at implementing the AWWA/ANSI Utility Management Standards (G-Series) in water utilities across Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho.

Participating utilities were trained during three, two-day workshops – the first two held virtually in September 2022 and January 2023 – culminating in an in-person workshop in Livingstone, Zambia, 25-26 April. The final workshop aimed to turn the work accomplished in the previous sessions into actionable plans for ongoing improvements in utility operations.

According to Jim Ginley, one of the instructors leading the workshops, the mission behind the initiative in Africa was to deliver effective utility management training workshops to water utilities, fostering a culture of continual improvement and better water management. The workshops focused on implementing the AWWA management standards for water treatment, distribution systems, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment.

Ginley also highlighted why AWWA was best suited to deliver these training workshops, saying, “AWWA and its members are recognised worldwide as the ‘authors’ of water utility management standards and supporting guides.” The expertise and experience of the training team, comprised of seasoned professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the water sector, set them apart. Ginley added, “Our training team had a hand in developing and implementing the use of the original standards and accompanying guidebooks and learning tools. So, not only is AWWA the overall author of the series – but our instruction team actually wrote the book(s).”

When asked about the expected outcomes of the workshops, Ginley explained, “We hope that individual utilities recognise the value of the tools and the opportunity to use them to make steady, gradual, significant improvements to their daily operations.”