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News Conclusions of the e-conference on Water Research and the Improvement of WASH services for the Poor

Dear participants,

at the end of this round of messages (indeed the e-conference has formally come to its end, although the forum will remain open for some time), I wish to thank you for your interesting contributions and hope the discussions will continue among us through other channels or in private. I therefore try to summarize in brief the issues highlighted so far (apologising if someone will not feel completely interpreted by my points):

* The sectorial and fragmented nature of the sanitation initiatives carried out by the public administrations of certain countries and a substantial rigidity in the choice of the technological and organizational solutions (for example, distribution networks with public taps, mandatory associative organisation for collecting charges) (Darghouth Aziza, Tunisia; Raquel Alfaro, Chile).

* The necessity, in countries experiencing strong competition between different uses of water, to introduce alternative sources of water supply, such as sea water or waste water, and the importance of research on new treatment processes as an opportunity also of reducing costs by maintaining an adequate availability of water resources (Gianfrancesco Costantini, Italy and Fiji).

* The necessity of developing innovative technologies for water production and sanitation management that make it possible to reduce the importance of economies of scale, leaving behind the old system based on the transport of water from distant sources (Raquel Alfaro, Chile).

* The possibility of providing public incentives to the water service management (for example, tax reductions) so that they might commission research aimed at increasing the efficiency of the services (for example, analysis of infrastructures, consumption, leakages, illegal connections, etc.) (Raquel Alfaro, Chile).

* The contribution of biotechnologies to the improvement of water production: they can be used for cleaning wastewater making it possible to re-use it in irrigation; they can provide low-cost ways of collecting water in more arid regions (Daguia Olga, Benin; Otiso Kefa, USA).

* The relationship between water management and food self-sufficiency of populations, especially in Africa: indispensability of the first in achieving the second (Daguia Olga, Benin; Otiso Kefa, USA).

* The new initiatives for the development of the hydroelectric potential of Africa and its positive repercussions also for water supply (in that they will supply the necessary energy to pump the water to the places where it is consumed) (Daguia Olga, Benin; Otiso Kefa, USA).

* The potentialities of the Internet dissemination of information on water and sanitation among local communities and the importance of involving students as gatekeepers, in the face, however, of the still inadequate Internet access in developing countries (Rajola Vikram, India; Daguia Olga, Benin).

* The weakness of water research in some African countries, due to: lack of centres; lack of communication between the centres and with the outside world; lack of statistics; lack of knowledge on innovation fields; lack of financial resources in order to apply innovative technologies (Adkambi Fakoree Moreniké, Benin).

* The lack of mechanisms for sharing and applying local solutions to water problems and the growing dependency of local communities on NGOs for the identification of such solutions (Otiso Kefa); in more general terms, the role of intermediary organizations in matching demand with the supply of technological solutions (Gianfrancesco Costantini, Italy and Fiji).

* The existence of numerous research results that are wasted and the necessity for greater internal communication within the scientific community and between this and the other stakeholders (Jauad El Kharraz, France).

* The necessity of concentrating research in the areas where there are significant information gaps to be bridged regarding high risk performance areas and where capacities are crucial (Jauad El Kharraz, France).

* The necessity for an effort on the part of the research world to make technological transfer site-specific and in order to support the use of new innovative systems of service supply, but also the use of traditional systems such as rainwater harvesting where appropriate (Jauad El Kharraz, France).

* The importance, also for research purposes, of looking after basic sanitation and hygiene education, with particular attention on rural areas where greater obstacles are encountered because of the lack of resources and capacities (Jauad El Kharraz, France).

* The launch of new initiatives for disseminating knowledge on water and the environment (for example, EMWIS – The Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the water sector), ENVIS (Environmental Information System) at Sulabh Intenational (Jauad El Kharraz, France; Vikram Rajola, India).

Thank you again for your participation.

Best wishes,

Alessandra Cancedda

Contact information Alessandra Olmi (email:
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information CERFE
Keyword(s) access to water and sanitation
Geographical coverage Italy
News date 10/07/2006
Working language(s) ENGLISH