Competitive Grant 14:

Improvement of Water Management Through Business Performance and Forming Association

Serbia - PUC Naissum Niš

 

Description of the activity

IAWD selected a competitive grant project proposed by the public utility company Naissus from Niš, Serbia to be among the successful contenders. The utility planned to establish an association for water preservation and protection in southern Serbia, with the ultimate beneficiaries of the project’s long-term results being the population of the region. Activities started in April 2014 and were formally finished in September 2015.

Implementation of the activity

PUC Naissus, Niš’ public utility company, took the initiative to create the Association for South of Serbia Water Protection and Preservation (WASS). This association would gather entities such as water supply companies, local government units, scientific and educational institutions, organizations of civil society, enterprises, as well as interested water professionals.

After extensive consultations with potential partners and after securing necessary funds from the Danube Water Program competitive grant scheme, future members of the association held an initial meeting. At this meeting, they established a framework of aims and activities and formed four working groups on current and future developments of key significance. Representatives of 25 local government units and water supply utilities from southern Serbia participated in the meeting.

On 9 June 2015, PUC Naissus hosted the founding assembly of WASS at the regional Chamber of Commerce. Participants elected the bodies of the association and adopted its statute. A press conference, which attracted wide media coverage, followed the successful launch of the association. Besides utility companies, representatives of several local government units attended the meeting and encouraged utility managers to engage in WASS. A first working meeting followed the founding assembly. This meeting saw the creation and adoption of the association’s program and work plan.

The fledgling association ran a broad awareness raising campaign on World Water Day, which is celebrated annually on 22 March. Activities included distributing brochures on water saving to schoolchildren, distributing some 200.000 leaflets in 26 municipalities, organizing a march titled “Walking for water” in Niš, and launching a dedicated website.

Videos about "Walking for Water", 23.03.2015

 

Challenges and lessons learned

WASS’ launch having been a success, the focus now lies on creating tangible benefits for the 930.000 inhabitants of the region. The association ambitiously aims to participate in decision making on all levels, to promote better performance in utility companies, and to protect natural resources in southern Serbia.