03 October 2020 / Vienna, Austria
D-LeaP Hubs Keep Going to Keep Capacities Growing
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
03 October 2020

In a crisis that raises the importance of clean, healthy water to new levels, hunkering down and ducking away is not an option, so all our utilities keep the water flowing, but participants in many D-LeaP Hubs do a lot more than just that.

As if it was not challenging enough to ride the lockdown/reopening rollercoaster while fighting to keep up with changing safety regulations, ubiquitous staff health concerns, painful cash flow congestions and all the other Corona-related inconveniences: We receive reports from many D-LeaP Hubs that have managed to keep their capacity building programs going in the middle of the pandemic crisis. Let's congratulate all the involved Hub managers and participants, because that is an amazing feat.

The latest reports come from Hubs working on the SEEAM project, the Asset Management Advisory Services to Water Utilities in South-Eastern Europe. We hear from Bosnia and Herzegovina that the Asset Management (AM) Hub led by the national Aquasan Network has successfully adapted to the challenging working conditions, using online trainings and online collaboration platforms to introduce advanced tools and best practices in asset management at nine utility providers across the country.

UTVSI, Serbia's Association for Water Technology and Sanitary Engineering, calls the pandemic crisis life-changing, forcing society to re-assess priorities, and also teaching the value of safe water, good hygiene, and available sanitation as much more than mere conveniences. In Serbia, the SEEAM project including all activities of UTVSI AM Hub and also the Asset Management teams of the water utilities adapted to the crisis very quickly. The AM Hub turned out to be fully resilient keeping support available for all daily requirements of utility companies. Latest COVID-19 information updates were shared with water utilities, and all scheduled SEEAM project activities, all workshops, trainings and meetings were delivered in “digital form”, fulfilling all SEEAM project key indicators in the face of an unprecedented crisis.

SHUKALB, the Water Supply and Sewerage Association of Albania also reports that in spite of the comprehensive pandemic-related restrictions, they kept up their AM Hub activities, relying on virtual workshops, virtual one-on-one software and data management trainings and, where possible, direct assistance from a visiting AM Hub team.

Kosovo Association SHUKOS tells us that after an encouraging start in February, their SEEAM project hit the wall in March when national emergency plans kicked in, introducing social distancing, travel restrictions and quarantines. SHUKOS leading the the AM HUB Kosovo, in cooperation with GIZ and Hydro-Comp Enterprises Ltd., relied on Skype as a collaboration platform to continue capacity building in the face of the pandemic, even integrating four additional Regional Water Companies newcomers in their SEEAM Project, thus completing the integration of all RWCs operating in Kosovo. In the face of the crisis, the Hub managed to organize two online events and even one physical classroom training course, all in compliance with government regulations. One Hub manager remarks that in spite of what he describes as a serious psychological situation due to the restrictions, all participants realized that “each of us can do more than we ever thought possible.”