By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Challenges facing water utilities across the region will come under the spotlight today in the opening of the first Arab Water Week.

Organised by the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the event will gather 400 water experts and decision makers from 17 countries.

During the five-day event, participants will discuss cost recovery at water and wastewater utilities as well as Arab water utilities’ common achievements, challenges and potential solutions, according to ACWUA Secretary General Khaldoun Khashman.

Participants will also discuss best practices in cost recovery, tariff restructuring and sustainable utility management, Khashman told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

“In parallel to the conference activities, a matchmaking workshop will be held to prepare ACWUA’s utilities twinning programme in cooperation with UN HABITAT,” Khashman said.

He added that a workshop will also be held for water sector regulators in the Arab region in cooperation with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation.

On the sidelines of the event, the ACWUA will sign memoranda of understanding with the Stockholm International Water Institute, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Arab German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the German Water Partnership, Muenchen Messe and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Founded in April 2007, the ACWUA aims to boost exchange of knowledge and best practices among professionals as well as developing resources, facilitating training programmes and advocating for professional certification, according to the organisation.