Institute for Resource Management
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Operator partnerships in the water sector - Municipal water management - International cooperation - Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ - Operator platform - Operator pool

Municipal water partnerships: Establishing a pool of operators for international cooperation

Municipal water and wastewater operators have the knowledge, skills and experience that are particularly needed in the countries of the global South. The federal government is therefore very interested in establishing international development partnerships via municipal water management. For example, at its meeting in 2019, the Conference of Ministers of the Interior emphasised the importance of municipal development partnerships as an essential element in the implementation of the global sustainability goals. There is also a great deal of interest among operators from various countries in cooperating with German partners.

Approaches and initiatives for promoting partnerships

To address this need, the German Water Partnership's Operations and Education Working Group developed the peer-to-peer operator partnership approach, which was modelled after the United Nations Water Operator Partnerships.

To promote the idea of operator partnerships between German and international water operators, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) initiated the pilot project "Operator Platforms for Strengthening Partnerships of Municipal Enterprises around the World".

Establishing a pool of operators

The aim of the project is to analyse the operator landscape in the German water sector in order to ascertain whether and under which conditions German water operators can participate in international development cooperation.

To this end, suitable operators, municipalities and associations will be identified, compiled in an operator pool and structured based on their respective competences and partnership interests. Their motives and challenges will be further elaborated via interviews and online surveys in order for necessary incentives and proposed solutions to be identified.

The operator partnership programme will start in the water sector. A continuation and expansion of the programme to other infrastructure sectors is planned and depends on a critical mass of interested German operators in the water sector.

The potential for international cooperation among municipalities and water and wastewater utilities identified in the study will serve as a basis for political decision-makers.


Analyse des Potentials deutscher Wasserbetreiber zum Engagement im Rahmen von kommunalen Wasserbetreiberpartnerschaften, mit dem Ziel des Aufbaus eines Betreiberpools


Dr. Shahrooz Mohajeri, +49(0)30-34 34 74 40


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH




November 2021 - Mai 2022