14 October 2022 / Vienna, Austria
The Great Gathering, Revisited: The Danube Water Forum Report is Out!
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
17 October 2022

28 and 29 June, the water service sector in the Danube region gathered in Tirana for the Danube Water Forum 2022 for two days of valuable information and lively discussions on the hot energy topic, while enjoying the first chance to meet eye to eye after two years of pandemic-related isolation. 158 participants had a fantastic time. Those who were not there may look forward to next year's Danube Water Conference in Vienna – and should turn to the comprehensive 2022 Danube Water Forum reporting on Voice of the Danube.

The biennial Danube Water Forum is a main event of the Danube Water Program, an initiative by the World Bank and the IAWD, the International Association of Water Service Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area. Knowledge sharing and networking rank high on the program's agenda, and the Danube Water Forum and Danube Water Conference are instrumental in this respect.

In 2020 and 2021, the Covid crisis had forced all conference events into the cyberspace, and while virtual conferencing was surprisingly well received, everybody was impatiently expecting the return of real-life events.

Accordingly, this year’s Forum brought together 158 participants from 20 different countries around the globe, representing all facets of the water sector, including national and local governments and regulatory agencies, water utilities, professional associations, international financing institutions and as well as academia.

Old friends took the occasion to reunite, but there was also an encouraging number of fresh faces present: Numbers from a survey taken during the event indicate that roughly one third of those present were attending their first DWP event. They were in for a treat.

SHUKALB, the Water Supply and Sewerage Association of Albania, acted as the local host and went to great lengths to organize a thoroughly pleasant event. Under the title “Energizing the Water Sector in the Danube Region”, the event looked at the current energy price crisis and its implications for the future of the water sector from numerous angles, with altogether one keynote, twelve presentations, two panel and four plenary discussions in six sessions covering the impact of exploding energy bills on utilities in the region, the promises of innovative technologies for energy management in the sector, the field of investments and financing, and the role of policy makers and regulators in creating an enabling environment for de-energizing the water sector.

A welcome reception, including the celebration of the official launch of Albania's National Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Modernization Program, and a conference dinner at a charming seaside resort near Durres, held jointly with the back-to-back Nexus event “Benchmarking and Asset Management Nexus – Key tools for Regulators and Decision Makers” rounded off the program.

A survey among participants showed wide-spread happiness and appreciation: The interest in the content was lively, with almost all sessions attended by all participants, with the sessions on “Innovative Technologies for Saving and Producing Energy” and on “the Energy Market and Effects on Utilities” rated especially high in the survey.

Regarding the session formats and length, opinions were – unsurprisingly – divided: Some would have preferred even longer and more in-depth coverage and more room for panel discussions and interactions with participants while others would have preferred even more compressed formats. Still, the verbal feedback ranged from “excellent level” and “very pleasant interactions with other participants” to “excellent organization!” and “Good to have such an event in the region!”.

Those who were not there and still want to get all the information find the fresh conference report, video coverage and in-depth reports on the sessions on the event's page under the link at the bottom of this page.

Those who really, really want to be there next time should note that the 2023 Danube Water Conference will be held in Vienna. You will soon find further information in this newsletter and on the Voice of the Danube web. We are looking forward to meeting you (again?) in person!  

VoD - 2022 Danube Water Forum

The 2022 Danube Water Forum “Energizing the Water Sector in the Danube Region” will convene on 28 – 29 June, 2022 in Albania’s capital city Tirana, back to back with the Conference on “The Benchmarking and Asset Managem...