Danube Water Program

The World Bank / IAWD Danube Water Program supports smart policies, strong utilities and sustainable water and wastewater services in the Danube region by partnering with regional, national and local stakeholder, promoting an informed policy dialogue around the sector’s challenges and strengthening the technical and managerial capacity of the sector’s utilities and institutions.

Why this Program?

Governments and water professionals in the Danube region face a double challenge of meeting their citizens’ demand for universal, good quality, efficient, and financially sound or - in one word - sustainable water and wastewater services, while catching up to the environmental requirements of the European Union acquis communautaire. To address this double challenge, the World Bank and the International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area (IAWD) have partnered to launch the Danube Water Program, with a 17 million Euro, four-phased financing from the Government of Austria.

What has the Program achieved?

The Danube Water Program was formally launched in May 2013 in partnership with line ministries, regulators, water utility associations, and local government representatives of a dozen countries in South-East Europe. Since the launch of the Program, knowledge exchanges among more hundreds of sector professionals and policy makers in the region and beyond has taken place. In 2015 a State of the Sector report was produced and made available as a comprehensive assessment of the situation in the water sector of all countries of the Danube, which has been updated in 2018. Three additional analytical pieces exploring status and trends in wastewater management, rural water supply and sanitation and agglomeration of utilities have been published. A variety of benchmarking activities are undertaken on a regional and national level including the publicly available DANUBIS.org utility performance indicator database. Capacity building programs benefiting several hundred utilities have been undertaken under the region wide Danube Learning Partnership (D-LeaP) involving cooperation with all the national water utility associations. Numerous local initiatives worth more than € 1,000,000 through competitive grants have been supported.

The first phase, which ended in 2015, saw the successful completion of more than 40 individual knowledge sharing, capacity building and analytical work activities, demonstrating a strong demand for the Program supported activities. The second phase focused on the establishment of the annual Danube Water Conference/Forum as the prime networking event of sector professionals in the region, the further development of the benchmarking activities including the publicly available DANUBIS.org utility performance indicator database, and the consolidation of capacity building activities under the Danube Learning Partnership, a sustainable learning partnership of national and regional water utility associations. Phase three and four of the program focus on the sustainability of DWP developed activities and on expanding the scope towards the broader Water Security agenda. While the third phase, heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, included many newly launched flagship knowledge sharing activities (The Voice of the Danube Website, KnowNow Webinar Series, and the Danube Water Forum), Phase 4 will continue with a strong focus on water security and resilient recovery and stakeholder engagement. 

How does the program operate?

The Program activities fall under three broad categories: analytical and advisory services; capacity development, and knowledge sharing, in which the focus is on exchanging and sharing experiences and lessons among countries, institutions, and utility companies. 

Under Phase I-II, a fourth category of activities included Competitive Grants resulting in a cumulative investment of €1 million.


Go to Program Activities to read in more detail about the work of the Danube Water Program.  

Who can participate in the Danube Water Program?

The Program currently covers water sector activities in eleven target countries and five participating countries, which can join program activities, but cannot directly benefit from Program funding. 

In each country, the Program will in particular target: (i) higher level government officials, water security policy makers and water sector regulators; (ii) senior technical and managerial staff of water supply and wastewater utilities, and (iii) representatives of professional associations, international organizations active in the region, relevant academic institutions and NGOs. 



DWP Leaflet (English)
DWP Brochure (English)