The first International Workshop on Wastewater Management in the Danube river Basin took place from 28 to 29 November 2017 in Bucharest, Romania. The Workshop was co-organised by the ICPDR, IAWD, the International Association of Water Supply companies in the Danube River Catchment Area, and the World Bank. The event was hosted by the National Administration “Romanian Waters” as well as the Romanian Ministry of Waters and Forests and supported by the Danube Water Program (DWP, jointly implemented by IAWD and World Bank), the EUSDR PA4, the Global Water Partnership, the EIB, both Directorates General ENV and JRC of the European Commission.
This joint initiative answers a need by the countries of the Danube River Basin to specifically address the multi-dimensional problem of wastewater management in the Danube River Basin.
The anticipated goal of the workshop was to achieve a clear concept of the roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders involved and to identify the necessary further steps towards sustainable management of wastewater infrastructure and service. Moreover, the workshop provided the participants with a platform to identify, share and discuss best practices and cost-efficient solutions in wastewater management.
The workshop program included plenary presentations to set the scene about and specific brainstorming sessions to identify particular issues around the three main pillars:
- Investment & Financing
- Management & Operation
- Innovation & Technology
The main take-home messages from the workshop were that better absorbing rates are needed for funding infrastructure development, proper water-pricing and affordability is both a challenge and a must and there is still a strong need of skilled workforce at all levels: national and local administrations and utilities. Finally, sludge management and energy-optimisation at treatment plant level, making wastewater a resource and not a problem deserves better attention; International organisations should assist countries to achieve these objectives, particularly in facilitating capacity-building and strengthening in the sector.