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A boost for water policy

Water Policy Group members are pleased to announce that Mr Ravi Narayanan of India has joined the Group as its tenth member.

On behalf of Water Policy Group, Mr Tony Slatyer said Mr Narayanan would bring a wealth of experience in water policy, programs and initiatives at the national and international level.

“As former Chief Executive of WaterAid UK, and with his other influential roles in India and in global forums, Mr Narayanan’s knowledge and understanding will allow Water Policy Group to better support global and national efforts to achieve universal access to safe water and sanitation for all people,” Mr Slatyer said.

Mr Narayanan’s membership comes at an important time, as global water experts, including Water Policy Group, stress the necessity of basic water and sanitation services for COVID-19 safety and for  achieving most other social and economic development goals.

Mr Narayanan’s other current roles include being Chair of the Asia Pacific Water Forum and Chair of the Water Integrity Network.

On his new membership, Mr Narayanan says, “I am delighted to join such an eminent group and look forward to learning from my new colleagues and contributing with them to better water policy outcomes. I believe strongly in mission of the Group and the opportunities to improve water and sanitation outcomes globally through good policy at all levels.”

Other members of Water Policy Group are Ms Anne Castle, Ms Mercedes Castro, Dr Jane Doolan, Ms Felicia Marcus, Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, Dr Oyun Sanjaasuren, Mr Tony Slatyer, Mr Tom Soo and Dr Olcay Ünver.

Water Policy Group
15 June 2020 


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Anne Castle shares insights on Colorado River

Water Policy Group member Anne Castle was recently interviewed in the University of New South Wales Global Water Institute’s latest Global Water Matters podcast, ‘Insights from the Colorado River’.

With an impressive career having provided hands-on leadership across many issues in the over-allocated Colorado River Basin, Anne’s insights come from the unique perspective of someone with both a professional and personal connection to the river—and a deep understanding of the all the  many complexities involved in policy decisions.

How are the voices of Native Americans heard? How can water requirements be balanced between agriculture and cities? What is the role of non-government organisations? Is there a long-term plan to restore environmental flows to the Sea of Cortez? And what may the future look like for the river basin and all the communities and ecosystems that depend on it?

Listen to Anne’s compelling conversation with producer Gretchen Miller as they discuss some of the many challenges of managing the Colorado River, and talk about a new experiment that hopes to support a precious ecosystem situated downstream from one of the river’s largest dams.

Listen Now

A new partnership is born

Today we announce a new partnership that will connect leading water policy practitioners with an academic network working at the forefront of multidisciplinary water research. Water Policy Group (WPG) and the University of New South Wales Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI) are pleased to announce the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding to support and advance each other’s agendas to promote sustainable and equitable water stewardship.

Every country in the world faces great challenges in achieving the sustainable and equitable use of water resources by 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. It is imperative that all public and private sector organisations and institutions that are active across fresh and marine water resources cooperate and collaborate to identify and deliver appropriate technical knowhow and good government water policies.

WPG and UNSW-GWI are joining forces to better connect cutting-edge water research to innovative water policy. Under the new partnership, UNSW-GWI will provide logistical support for WPG activities and WPG will connect UNSW-GWI members into broader water policy networks and activities.

WPG is a global network of water sector experts who have been decision makers and trusted advisers within governments and international bodies handling complex water policy and strategy. The members of the group have had direct experience in working with complex water policy issues, and a common goal that their knowledge, networks and experience can help achieve the sustainable development of water resource to serve the public interest.

Speaking on behalf of WPG, Mr Tony Slatyer said, “Water issues are intrinsically complex and cannot be solved without people working together. The support being provided by UNSW-GWI will enable our members to maximise our services and outreach globally. In turn, we look forward to assisting UNSW-GWI to engage in water policy at the global level.”

UNSW-GWI represents members of the UNSW water community from the faculties of law, medicine, social science, engineering, built environment and science. UNSW has a long history of excellence in fresh and marine water research and is consistently placed in the top ten universities worldwide for water resources.

Professor Greg Leslie, Director of UNSW-GWI, remarked that the new partnership will provide unique insight to how water policy is developed and informed by research.

“This exciting development will provide new opportunities for academics and postgraduate students working across all the faculties and centres active in fresh water and marine research to better connect research to smart water policy and management,” said Prof Leslie.

Over the next 12 months the partnership will co-deliver suite of seminars, podcasts, surveys and policy documents on the most vexing of challenges associated with the sustainable and equitable use of water resources.

Water Policy Group
23 April 2020

Enquiries: Patricia Dalby –

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Mercedes Castro joins Water Policy Group

Water Policy Group members are pleased to announce that Ms Mercedes Castro Garcia has joined the Group as its ninth member.

Water Policy Group is a network of recognised water sector experts with direct experience in working with water policy issues in and with governments. Members share a common goal to harness their unique skills and experience to serve the public interest.

Ms Castro is the group’s first member from South America, where she has led an illustrious career across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

As Director and CEO at NGO Agualimpia in Peru, Ms Castro leads projects financed by international donors and the private sector, generating public private alliances to benefit vulnerable rural and urban populations.  She is also CEO at HIDRIKA, an international consultancy specialising in water issues.

Ms Castro represented the former President of Peru on the High Level Panel on Water from 2016-2018 and is the current Chair of the Steering Committee of the 2030 Water Resources Group in Peru.

Ms Castro says she is eager to assist Governments further with water policy matters and will do so with the critical elements of collaboration and inclusion top of mind.

“I believe strongly in the power of alliances among the public sector, private sector, academia and vulnerable communities,” says Ms Castro.

“Together we can take an inclusive approach to enable the full enjoyment of water by people in Latin America and the rest of the world.”

Other members of Water Policy group are Ms Anne Castle, Dr Jane Doolan, Ms Felicia Marcus, Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, Dr Oyun Sanjaasuren, Mr Tony Slatyer, Mr Tom Soo and Dr Olcay Ünver.

Water Policy Group
20 April 2020 


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Water Policy Group Statement on COVID-19: Water and Global Solidarity

Access to clean water and sanitation is essential for containment of COVID-19. Without water, hand hygiene is not possible and without water to the home, home based quarantine is not possible.

Yet it has been estimated three billion people have no water service to the home, 785 million people have no access to any basic drinking water service, and 12% of health care facilities globally have no water service. These facilities must either get their water service from more than 500 metres away, or from an unimproved source.

Five years ago, all Governments committed to rectify this when they agreed to Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 6 of ensuring access to water and sanitation for all people by 2030. But many countries are not on track to achieve this Goal.

As efforts are made through high level political processes of the G20 and United Nations to found a new ‘shared responsibility: global solidarity’ agenda to help with the COVID-19 response and recovery, it will be important that sustainable and equitable availability of water for all is prioritised as a core issue for increased focus and action, now and in the future.

Water Policy Group supports the recent statement by United Nations Secretary-General, the Hon Antonio Guterres, “Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face.”

Achievement of universal access to water and sanitation by 2030 will be an imperative contribution to this objective. Governments will need to consider how to allow for more adaptive water governance and risk management to increase the resilience of their societies in the face of disruption from COVID-19, climate change and economic pressures.

Reliable access to fit for purpose water for all citizens is necessary for human health and all other dimensions of sustainable social and economic development.

Water Policy Group believes this goal is possible to achieve with sufficient political energy and commitment to put in place the right policies and investments at the national level, supported by the international community.

Water Policy Group
15 April 2020 


Download the PDF version of this statement in English or in  Spanish

Data and reference sources:


1st World Summit on Leaving No One Behind

The 1st World Summit on Leaving No One Behind was launched with opening speeches from Michael Moller (Director General of the United Nations) and Francis Gurry (Secretary General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)), Amanda Loeffen (Director General of Waterlex) and Tom SOO (IWRA Executive Board Member and member of the Water Policy Group) on Thursday 7th February.

“The summit focussed on solutions for access to water and sanitation for the people that have been left behind is an issue of human rights, whatever the cause, be it poverty, water scarcity, climate change, conflict situations or cultural and gender barriers. Solutions need to be innovative, economical and easy to implement. Overarching these constraints there also needs to be a supportive political climate and strengthened governance to overcome corruption, inertia, and budgetary constraints.The nexus of these three aspects of Human Rights-Based Water Governance, Innovative Technology and Economic Feasibility provides a topic for this Summit, and a platform to bring together ideas and people in a constructive environment.The clear outcome from the two days is to find tangible projects to pilot, with funding attached to them.

Kate Gilmore (Deputy High Commissioner of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights) closed the final session on the Friday, with her reflections on the fundamental dignity related to water and sanitation and the link to goal 6 and the “need to inject urgency and justice into a more inclusive process to realise human rights to water and sanitation”, Kate Gilmore.”

Mobilising water that is fit for purpose augments capacity to deal with water security

Water Policy Group Tom Soo Global Water Quality CompendiumThis report, published by IWRA, “collects and examines examples of existing recommendations for influent water quality, as applied to various human and ecosystem uses. It provides robust reference and analysis of existing water quality guidelines. Building on these case studies, the report explores new perspectives, and raises pertinent questions for future work on the topic, including what an online compendium of such guidelines might look like.

Its primary objective is to lay the groundwork for an online compendium to improve access to examples of water quality guidelines and facilitate a better understanding of how water quality demand and supply can contribute to appropriate and economical multi-sectoral water resource management.

The contents and outputs of the report are oriented around three overlapping domains: water use, geographical scale, and multi-disciplinary perspectives. Due to the nature of water resources, there are few water quality guidelines that address the full range of uses. This report is no exception, and so focuses on five main categories of water use: domestic, agriculture, industry, energy, and ecosystems. After examining international, regional and national guidelines from these water uses, the report presents key findings and recommendations based on these guidelines, as well as a proposed database structure to encourage future work in the topic.” (