By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – More than 400 water experts and decision makers from 17 Arab and foreign countries are expected to take part in the first Arab Water Week, slated for December.

Organised by the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the event will focus on cost recovery at water and wastewater utilities, achievements, challenges and solutions, according to organisers.

“Arab Water Week is an important opportunity for the water and wastewater management community in the Arab world, as it will form a networking platform for water management professionals from government, academic and private sector institutions to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge as well as experiences,” ACWUA Secretary General Khaldoun Kashman said on Wednesday.

He made the remarks during a press conference to announce the event, noting that it will also feature an Arab Water Trade Fair, which will showcase state-of-the-art water technologies and devices.

Participants at the December 5-9 event will also discuss best practices in cost recovery and tariff restructuring and sustainable utility management: cost recovery implementation and obstacles.

Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Maysoun Zu’bi said the issue of cost recovery for water providers is essential as it guarantees their sustainable operation.

“It is vital in the management of water utilities to recover costsة generating profits in the water sector is difficult, therefore water providers should at least recover operational costs,” she said during yesterday’s press conference.

Zu’bi noted that water providers can recover costs by reducing water loss, cutting down on energy consumption, carrying out regular maintenance on water utilities and using state-of-the-art technologies to improve services and raise efficiency.

Founded in April 2007, the ACWUA aims at serving as regional platform for exchange of knowledge and best practices amongst member experts and professionals, as well as developing resources, facilitating training programmes, and advocating for professional certification to enable member utility staff to perform their duties in a professional, reliable and cost-effective manner, according to its website.