28 - 30 November 2022 Konstanz, Germany

The World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA), in collaboration with Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG), would like to invite you to participate in the World Water Quality Alliance Conference 2022, which has been organised by the Social Engagement Workstream and the Youth Action for World Water Quality Workstream of the WWQA.

Over three days, in the city of Konstanz in Germany, the hybrid event will discuss the results and achievements of the Local Water Forums and the initiatives undertaken by the WWQA Youth Platform. In the build-up to the UN Water Conference 2023, the opportunities to expand the work and influence of the Social Engagement and Youth movements of the WWQA will be explored and developed. The role of citizen science will be discussed. Above all, the conference will seek to establish permanent ties between the high-level strategist and the local stakeholder, between youth and society as a whole. It will promote and support the transformation of scientific knowledge into practical local actions, and it will enhance the role of the local community as the means of resolving one of the most important global challenges of our times, water quality.

The World Water Quality Alliance Coordination Team at UNEP and the Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) of the World Water Quality Alliance is pleased to announce the second call for applications for seed funding and the initiation of new workstreams. All WWQA partners are invited to submit applications.

Call Details

The work plan of the WWQA consists of various thematic priority topics and related workstreams. In principle, the workplan in its entirety reflects the priorities and emerging issues identified for action by the Alliance in a process of peer exchange and prioritisation. Members of the WWQA community can submit the following:

  1. Application proposal for the creation of a new workstream This second call is applicable to new workstream initiatives seeking to be adopted and that seek to contribute to the current WWQA Work Plan.
  2. Applications for Seed Funding where applicable

This is applicable to both new workstream proposals submitted under "1" (above) and to all other existing workstreams requesting seed funding from UNEP. Seed funding is generally designed to provide initial support for innovative workstreams addressing priority water quality issues and those which will feature co-benefits resulting from collaboration between WWQA and external partners. While proposals shall generally contribute to supporting the agreed Work Plan of the Alliance, new proposals demonstrating an innovative thematic focus to the Alliance will be accepted for consideration and review with regards to approval by the Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC). Technical and scientific review and guidance shall be provided by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

Templates for application:

  • Proposal template for WWQA workstreams:


  • Seed funding application template:



Global context but can be focused at a regional or nation state level.

Seed Amount

Up to US$ 65,000 per proposal


This call is open to member organisations of the World Water Quality Alliance community.

This call will prioritise applications that focus on the delivery of change regarding a water-quality issue at a global, regional or country level. The proposal should demonstrate its capacity to foster data uptake, the subsequent creation of solutions, the enhancement of resilience and / or the water, energy, food and ecosystems (WEFE) nexus approach.

Selection Criteria: 

The proposals/applications will be reviewed according to how they meet the following criteria:

  1. The capacity to reflect the objectives and principles of the WWQA (See focus area described under eligibility)
  2. The degree of innovation coupled with scientific and technical quality demonstrated
  3. The capacity to collaborate with other WWQA workstreams
  4. The degree of sustainability and cost/benefit together with procedural and implementation details.
  5. The transformative potential and the outlining of a mid to long-term roadmap      

Closing date:

Workstream Proposals and Seed Funding Applications should be submitted to the WWQA Coordination Team ( no later than 12.00 CET (13.00 EAT) on the 6th of October 2022.

Greetings from the World Water Quality Alliance Coordination Team here in Nairobi, Kenya. We hope that you and your close ones have remained in good health this year despite ongoing challenges of the pandemic. It is now the time of the year again where we will be holding our 3rd annual global meeting for the World Water Quality Alliance in 2022. Due to the ongoing restrictions caused by the Omicron variant, as the global health situation keeps evolving and as a virtual format allows for the widest possible participation from around the world, we are once again planning to hold the next Annual Global Meeting of the WWQA fully virtually, as was done earlier in 2021 for the 2nd annual Global Meeting.

The WWQA has continued to make great strides with regards to overall progress as well as in the respective workstreams despite the disruption caused by the ongoing global health crisis and for that we would like to applaud and thank all our principal investigators and partners for their continued efforts.

Join us at the 3rd Annual Global Meeting of the WWQA, co-hosted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), scheduled to take place over 2 half-days, set over slightly different timing to try and allow for as much flexibility for participants around the world to join in. The theme of this meeting is ‘Data to Knowledge, Knowledge to Action’ and the objectives are:

  1. WWQA Coordination Team Update
  2. Present ongoing work and interfaces and products contributing towards the World Water Quality Assessment that will be shared on the UNEP World Environment Situation Room (WESR) as the main portal to update UNEP Member States towards the World Water Quality Assessment and WWQA workstreams contributing to this
  3. Understand the role of in-situ data on water quality available from GEMS Water. Identify requirements for in-situ data within the WWQA community to better support stakeholder needs and demands in this area.
  4. Identify emerging topics of environmental and socio-economic concern for water quality and inclusion into the Assessment
  5. Strategic planning and thematic focus.

For meeting connection details please contact Please find the agenda attached below:

We look forward to your participation!

Join the WWQA at the upcoming Cassandra Conference 2021 organized by Eurecat.  

Join the conference on 15th,  16th and 17th  November 2021. 

To register please click here:


Attached you will find the conference programme.

For more information please see: Conference Flier and / or visit the website:

We look forward to your participation!


The World Water Quality Alliance, Ecosystems Workstream established to support large-scale restoration initiatives to prevent, halt and redress the destruction of our freshwater ecosystems, focusing initially on water quality management in lakes and their catchments invite you to participate in a GLOBAL SURVEY OF LAKE RESTORATION IN PRACTICE.

The data collected in this survey will be aggregated and evaluated without reference to individuals.

You are welcome to share this survey with other interested practitioners.

To access the survey please click on the link below:


Note of Condolence

On behalf of UNEP, the World Water Quality Alliance, WWQA, and the Global Environment Monitoring System for Water, GEMS/Water,

The team would like to express heartfelt condolences for the passing of Ms. Rowena Hay, to her family, friends, and colleagues.

Water and people were her passion. Bringing worldviews to an individual’s perspective and engaging in making peoples' lives a little better was what Rowena Hay did full heartedly and with the ambition to leave no one behind.

As one of the coordinating lead authors for the water chapter in the sixth edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO 6) and as a valued partner of the World Water Quality Alliance from the start, she always gave guidance and inspiration. She shared a people-centred view on water, environment, and equality.

We say an untimely farewell to a wonderful person, a close friend, and a patient colleague who was always full of humour and stamina, even when navigating rough “waters”. Her memory will remain lively and we wish her husband, family, friends and close one’s strength, health, faith, and patience to walk the future without her but certainly with her spirit always present.

With Best Regards,
WWQA and GEMS/Water

A recent Joint Research Centre | European Commission - JRC report illustrates the resonant responses of the scientific community, which constituted the base for the possible creation of an EU-wide Wastewater Monitoring System for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance.

This was a massive collaboration effort of many enthusiastic partners and the World Water Quality Alliance contributed to this effort by co-organizing the Second virtual Town Hall Gathering.

The second virtual event took place on July 22nd , 2020. It was co-organized between the European Commission (the Directorate-Generals JRC and ENV) managing the first part of the meeting with a focus on the European Umbrella Initiative and UNEP and the UN World Water Quality Alliance, presiding the second part.

Part II of the meeting, which was chaired by UNEP, focused on the renaissance of interest in relationship between health and the environment and provided an insight into the wider picture of the COVID-19 crisis and its relationship with water quality and availability. In order to ensure also the best synergy with the international community, activities under this umbrella are now also coordinated with the WHO (HQ and Regional Office for Europe) and UNEP, the UN Environment Program, which convenes the World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA) which counts 50+ partners across major groups and stakeholders focusing on the developing world and the environment/health feedback dynamics.

The full report can be found here: kj-na-30684-en-n (1).pdf


First webinar of the Introductory series to the International Conference: Groundwater, key to the Sustainable Development Goals.


When: Thursday, May 27, 2021

Time: 2:30pm to 5pm (GMT+2)

Register here:

Venue: Zoom Webinar Platform

Director of the UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre (CDC), School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES)/Environmental Research Institute

Specific Purpose Whole-time Post (anticipated duration of 3 years)

UCC seeks a suitably-qualified person to lead the UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre in UCC. The successful candidate will be appointed at Senior Lecturer level and will be expected to provide strategic leadership to the Centre as well as undertaking appropriate academic and administrative duties. In accordance with the University’s strategic objective as a research-led institution, the duties of all academic staff will include research, research-led teaching and contributions to the university, the discipline and the community. The academic staff member shall teach and examine, undertake administrative duties and carry out other duties appropriate to the post under the general direction of the Head of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

For an information package including full details of the post, selection criteria and application process see The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Professor Andy Wheeler, Head of School of BEES, Email: For further information on the School, please visit

Appointment may be made on the Senior Lecturer Salary Scale: €71,047 – €99,564 (Scale B) / €68,639 – €94,718 (Scale A) Salary placement on appointment will be in accordance with public sector pay policy.

Applications must be submitted online via the University College Cork vacancy portal ( Queries relating to the online application process should be referred to, quoting the job-title.

Candidates should apply, in confidence, before 12 noon (Irish Local Time) on Tuesday, 23rd March 2021.

No late applications will be accepted.


Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector

Contact Person :

Professor Andy Wheeler

Contact Email :

Job ID :


Contact Number :

Close Date :

23-Mar-2021 12:00

Note of Condolence

On behalf of UNEP and the World Water Quality Alliance, WWQA

The World Water Quality Alliance Coordination Team would like to express heartfelt condolence for the passing of Dr. Ralf Klingbeil, to his family, friends and colleagues.

His role as a Senior Expert on Groundwater from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany (BGR) and a dedicated IAH Vice President - Science and Programme, made him a key contributor to the World Water Quality Alliance from the very first hour starting in late 2018 in Geneva. With his enthusiasm and dedication he convened leading global experts and colleagues around the world to establish the “Friends of Groundwater”. This Community of Practice and Excellence just provided a top level first of a kind global perspective paper on groundwater and its critical role for humanity and the earth system under pressure of climate change and pollution. This work outlines a pathway for future research and policy action.

Ralf’s contribution to the work of the WWQA and the Science Community at large will be greatly missed.

With Best regards,
The Coordination Team

World Water Quality Alliance


27 - 28 January 2021, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM (CET)

 Dear Members of the World Water Quality Alliance,

First and foremost, we hope that you are all in good health during these difficult times. Over the past year, the WWQA working groups and their respective workstreams have made significant progress despite the disruption caused by the current global health crisis and for that we would like to commend all our principal investigators and partners for their continued efforts.

The WWQA is a unique Community of Practice, representing an enormous range of outstanding expertise regarding water quality. It looks into interlinkages and feedback between water and health, environment and societies to name a few, whilst also representing a bridge between data, knowledge and action, by aiming to inform science, policy, business, society interfaces. As an Alliance we therefore continue to work collectively to explore the related knowledge and innovation workstreams underway that can assist global communities to find solutions to challenges in the short, medium, and long-term.

Cognisant of the fact that COVID-19 slowed us down in 2020 and which resulted in not having an annual global meeting of the Alliance in 2020, the WWQA Coordination Unit and the Co-chairs of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Committees would like to invite all members of the WWQA to the 2nd Annual Global Meeting on the 27th and 28th January 2021 (to take place over 2 half days). We are grateful to also confirm that irrespective of all global disruptions the African Ministers Council for Water, AMCOW, remains on board as our co-convener. This is very important since in the absence of an African Water Week at the end of 2020 and the same applying to a postponed World Water Forum to 2022, we are convinced that one geographical and thematic focus on Africa shall remain our top header. Due to current restrictions on international travel the meeting will be taking place virtually.


  1. To invite and present updates and outlooks to our distinguished Community on the current state of the various WWQA workstreams as well as discussions on new emerging topics; this will include several focal areas summarized here and to be fleshed out in a detailed programme to follow:
  • the World Water Quality Assessment with its contributing working groups on satellite observations, modelling and in-situ data;
  • the workstreams addressing water quality in groundwater (Friends of Groundwater)
  • several perspectives to be provided on water quality and health, but also water reuse, including antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and an update on the exploration of a Sentinel System for SARS-CoV-2 and beyond stemming from the Umbrella Study conducted by the European Union (EU)
  • ecosystem dimensions of water quality and how to intercompare the quality of different ecological systems
  • we will focus on and establish a consortium around the urgently needed upscaling of water quality and monitoring related capacity development, - here GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre (CDC) will be in a lead together with UNEP
  • we will take a look into the topic of data, namely in-situ data, and where to go with monitoring in future – here GEMS/Water will be in a leading role
  • further, we will focus on the social engagement workstream; here focus in the first place is on the municipal scale to foster societal transformation advocating an “all of society” approach
  • we also expect new initiatives to come our way with regards to involving the private sector and the youth

2. Dedicated focus on Africa

Water has for decades been a central focus on the African continent, water as amenity, as part of the life support system with both quantity and quality being key to human wellbeing, and environmental health. Environmental water quality, however, has always been an afterthought of drinking water and sanitation. A possible key to unlocking this situation is to highlight the interlinkages of these dimensions where one cannot go without the other. Africa is a prime example for the relevance of a multidimensional nexus focus. We aim to address:

  • The special initiative on Monitoring and Evaluation (Water and Sanitation Management Organisation - WASMO),
  • The evolving programme on water quality (AMCOW) where we aim to explore mutual working links to the WWQA
  • Specific cases by African Colleagues will be possible on all aspects mentioned under a)
  • The WWQA UseCases on the Volta, Victoria and Cape Town Aquifer Systems – experiences, opportunities, challenges and potential upscaling

We invite UN-Water to provide us with insight and a statement on the relevance and mutual agendas between the Alliance and the recently launched UN-Water Framework for SDG 6 Acceleration in which heads of all UN agencies were involved[1].

We will arrange for subsequent Expert Group virtual meetings on specific cases where there is need for follow up in smaller groups on certain topics. It is further suggested that two special sessions can be arranged prior to and after the conference for the Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to consider proposals received for new workstreams and/or seed funding applications.

While our immediate concern lies with the health and well-being of the members of the Alliance, we also recognise that the issues that drive WWQA’s work through its various workstreams will continue to be our priority focus, more central in the post-COVID 19 reconstruction efforts. We hope this virtual Annual Global Meeting will support the continued establishment of a community of like-minded innovators and raise entrepreneurship in a scientific and solution-oriented sense to address what we observe and may anticipate for the future.

We look forward to your participation!

 With kind regards,

The WWQA Coordination Unit


Meeting Agenda:

The World Water Quality Alliance Coordination Team in UNEP and the Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) of the World Water Quality Alliance invite WWQA partners to submit applications for the following:

  1. Proposal for New or Renewal of WWQA Workstreams

This first call1 is applicable to workstreams already existing and seeking renewal in the running WWQA Work Plan, as well as new initiatives (see below). New workstream2 proposals shall be reviewed by the Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) for approval. Technical and scientific review and guidance shall be provided by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

2. Applications for Seed Funding where applicable

This is applicable to those workstream proposals submitted under (1) which also apply for seed funding through UNEP. Applications for seed funding shall be reviewed and prioritized by the SAC. Technical and scientific review and guidance shall be provided by the TAC. Seed funding is generally meant to provide initial, inception support for innovative workstreams addressing priority water quality issues and those which will feature co-benefits from collaboration between WWQA and external partners.

While proposals shall generally contribute to support the agreed Work Plan of the Alliance3, new proposals bringing new thematic focus to the Alliance shall be open for review and consideration for inclusion by the SAC. Proponents may also seek additional guidance and/or receive scientific, technical and network advice by the TAC.

The templates for application can be accessed through the following links:

01 - Proposal template for WWQA Workstreams                                         

01 - Proposal template WWQA WorkStreams.docx                                                                                                       

02 - WWQA Seed funding application template       

Please submit your workstream proposals and Seed Funding Applications no later than15 January 2021 to

*1 This is the first WWQA call for workstream proposals. There will be openings for future calls regularly based on demand and priorities; modalities for frequency of such calls and/or intersessional submission have yet to be decided.

*2 In this first call, workstream proposals asked for are applying both, to existing and new workstreams. The WWQA Coordination Team acknowledges that the workstreams agreed upon in Ispra Sep. 2019 are running and therefore are reflected in the current WWQA Work Plan. However, the rational for the WWQA Coordination Team and SAC call also comprising those existing projects (i.e., filling out the workstream proposal template (Doc. 01)) is meant to provide for standardized information allowing the WWQA Coordination Team to display standardized information in outreach media, such as websites etc. and enabling full visibility. Also new proposals will be open for review. (see also footnote 1)

*3 First first year Work Plan was agreed at the launching conference held in Sep 2019 in Ispra, at the JRC. The next one shall be tabled and reviewed by the SAC and TAC during the next global meeting scheduled for 27-28 January 2021.

The World Water Quality Alliance invites you to join two of its sessions at the 2020 WWWeek At Home.

“Water Quality and Climate Change – The Overlooked Variable”

Wednesday 26th of August 2020

10.00 – 10.45 (CEST Time Zone)

Multiple interlinkages between water quality and climate change are not yet fully understood. The World Water Quality Alliance examines the resilience of human-natural water systems from a nexus perspective. This event will provide the latest evidence and present a way forward for mainstreaming water quality into the climate change debate.

Impacts of the climate emergency on the water cycle are mostly being discussed through a quantity lense: water availability, floods and droughts, groundwater-surface water interactions, precipitation patterns etc. However, the impacts of a changing climate on ambient water quality at different scales are even less understood or left aside. This event aims to draw attention to this overlooked variable and the interlinkages between water quantity, quality and climate change for surface and groundwater and identify a way to fill knowledge gaps by disentangling the role of socio-economic drivers.

The session will present the latest scientific findings on the interrelations between climate and water quality and how feedback loops under different climate scenarios are expected to impact on ecosystem balance, biodiversity (invasive species, pest infestations etc.), water availability, food security, pollution mitigation efforts and others. The need is to develop innovative and operational information services for decision making, on long term trends and for projections. It is crucial that longer-term management action with regard to adaptation, infrastructure development and nature-based solutions is not being missed while urgent threats are given priority.

The event will be guided by a moderator and include presentations, a panel discussion with active engagement of the audience.

ConvenersCentre for Ecology & Hydrology, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UNEP, World Meteorological Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

To join us for the session please CLICK HERE!

World Water Quality Alliance – Social Engagement for Climate Action

Thursday 27th of August 2020

11.00 – 11.45 (CEST Time Zone)

The joint communication capacity of science and culture as was demonstrated by the Urban Water Atlas for Europe represents an example of an approach named RENAISSANCE which aims to construct a trans-sectoral, multi-stakeholder and supranational-municipal approach to the socio-political challenges presented by climate change. This session presents this approach and invites the audience to explore new methods to convert science into socio-political action. Complex scientific data must be translated into a language which can attract the attention and encourage the participation of the hitherto uniformed layman, politician and other social actors with whom the scientific community all-too-often find it difficult to establish a mutually beneficial dialogue.

In order to guarantee an effective coalition of political, industrial, entrepreneurial, scientific, technical, social and citizen stakeholders the TAP mechanism within which both artists and scientists act as socio-political catalysts providing an effective cultural and technological international exchange can be employed:

T – Many Technologies to address the issues which fall under the majority of the Sustainable Development Goals already exist.

A – International, regional and local Awareness is promoted by giving prominence to scientific imagery accompanied by the emotional capacity of culture through Art.

P – The collection of data will serve for nothing if it does not result in the identification of necessary supranational solutions and leads directly to regional and municipal Politicians creating Policies supported by the People and translated into economic reality by practitioners in the field.

The showcase will demonstrate how science and art has combined to ensure that existing scientific knowledge and investigation leads to true socio-political advances and inter-regional collaboration. 

Conveners: EURECAT, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, UNEP, Water Europe

To join us for the session please CLICK HERE!


Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

10.30 – 12.00 EU Umbrella Study | 12:30 – 14.00 UN World Water Quality Alliance (CEST Time Zone)

 Wastewater has emerged as a reliable indicator of the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the population, while being itself not a source of infection. The ability to detect RNA fragments of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater is increasingly and independently being reported from research groups in nearly all EU Member States and beyond. Thus Australia, Canada, Turkey and other countries have successfully deployed sewers sentinels to compliment ongoing health surveillance programs

The reasons are obvious. This is a first opportunity to reliably surveil the presence of the virus in the population in a better and more harmonized way without direct testing of individual persons. Of particular note are studies which have detected the virus in wastewater before clinical cases are reported, indicating that the approach offers potential to form part of an early warning community public health surveillance system. This is a significant leap forward to a “life with the virus” ensuring preparedness and readiness in fighting its re-emergence.

The EU Umbrella Study

The European Commission has created a pan-European Umbrella Study to better understand the limitations and challenges of this approach. This includes the development of a roadmap for a systemic rollout of complementing ongoing national and regional surveillances in a unique approach. Upon suggestion from the Dutch Water Research Institute (KWR) and the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) and supported by EurEau and Water Europe, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Directorate-General Environment with involvement of the Directorate-General Health and Food Safety set up a spontaneous research alliance and organised a study engaging directly with some 90 waste water treatment plants in Europe. The umbrella currently spreads out to 17 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden), which decided to create an overlap with the EU study. Another 9 countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia) will join the second round of the Umbrella Study, scheduled for August 2020. While first results indicate the viability of the approach, they are currently being critically reviewed to develop a consensus on the use of generated datasets. In an inclusive and open approach critical topics and limitations are reviewed jointly with private and public entities which joined the initiative: CEDEX- Centro de Estudios y Experimentación de Obras Públicas (CEDEX), Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia (Spain), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, NIREAS – The International Water Research Center, NORMAN Network, SUEZ, University of Thessaly and National Technical University of Athens (Greece) and the University of Exeter (UK)  to name, but a few.

Defining the “Use Case”

EU Umbrella Study @ UN World Water Quality Alliance

UN World Water Quality Alliance: Sharing findings to assist hotspot areas, linking the environmental dimension

World Water Quality Alliance a global Community of Practice across all societal actors convened by UNEP as well as the World Health Organization WHO have offered their convening power to assist, in the forthcoming weeks and months, the knowledge transfer to the international community with a special aim to provide assistance to the current hotspot areas. This includes for example to expand the continuous information update to regions and partners.

Following a successful first event, this second Virtual Town Hall Event aims at informing the Community of Practice as well as to organize an initial step to explore global rollout options along a new understanding between health and environment. Corner stone in here is to collectively define the criteria for “use cases” in different regions and settings. The event is organized into two session, in order to allow an as large as possible community to join:

Part I (CEST Time Zone)

10.30 – 12.00 EU Umbrella Study (Chaired Session by EU/WHO Regional Office)

  • An update on the findings for the EU Umbrella Study (10 Min)
  • Insights into European National and Regional exercises (5 min each, max 8 cases)
  • Insight into Methodologies and harmonisation (10 min)
  • Uptake and rollouts in the Mediterranean and Europe (10 min plus discussion 20 min)

Part II (CEST Time Zone)

12:30 – 14.00 UN World Water Quality Alliance (Chaired session by UNEP/WHO/WWQA)

  • Use Cases Australia/New Zealand, Canada, US, Japan (tbc)
  • Requirements for African use cases (tbc)
  • Requirements for Asian use cases (tbc)
  • Requirements for Latin American use cases (tbc)
  • The view of the World Bank (tbc)
  • The view of Stakeholders e.g. World Water Quality Assessment, Regional Economic Commissions (tbc)
  • Next actions (10 min)

To join us for the meeting please CLICK HERE.

For more information on this, please contact the Joint Research Centre at or UNEP at .

The Year The 21st Century Began: Covid-19 and Water Quality

World Water Quality Alliance – COVID-19 WEBINAR

Wednesday 27th of May 2020, 14.00 CET

Having received an important amount of data as a result of the WWQA call entitled SARS–CoV-2 and COVID-19 Pandemic – A call to share what we can innovate and how we can respond and assist it was decided to organise a peer-group discussion. The goal was to explore how collaboration between interested parties could result in initiating of science, technology, innovation and enhancing of ongoing specific project work addressing the present pandemic and emerging recovery and prevention challenges facing society.

Among the  latest developments introduced to the attendees here were a Sentinel system for analysing pre-treated wastewater, the guarantees required in order to ensure an efficient supply of chemicals for the supply and sanitation of water, the issue of extreme WASH and the consequences of COVID-19 regarding agricultural irrigation, bathing water and water reuse. .

The intention was to describe the situation and offer examples of actions from Europe, Brazil and India whilst stimulating the participants to tender new ideas for collective efforts that may benefit from the involvement of the UN Environment Programme and the World Water Quality Alliance at large. Furthermore, the event was designed to act a catalyst for the creation of collective or sub-collective proposals regarding possible post-COVID-19 scenarios.

The webinar was the first of two virtual highly participatory events. This first one was to set the stage based on four presentations and in-depth discussions moderated by the chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee of the WWQA, Bernd Gawlik, JRC. As a second step participants are now encouraged to prepare, in the ensuing weeks, short videos of a maximum of five minutes in length, describing projects, opinions, experiences and suggesting ideas for future implementation which would be screened during the second webinar. The second webinar is planned for first half July 2020.

Following their inspirational presentations the four speakers, Richard Damania (World Bank), Andrea Rubini (WATER EUROPE), Eduardo Mario Mendiondo (the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil) and Mukunda Upadhyay (Oxfam India), were invited to describe what had surprised them most during the present crisis, what they believed were the most important issues in relation to water quality at this time and what could be the most effective role of the WWQA at present to assist in addressing the challenges:

Some stark realities were presented to the audience. There is much uncertainty with regards to both the causes, the dissemination and the possible sanitary responses to the situation. There is, at present, no vaccine, no cure and testing has proven to be inadequate under many circumstances. In the words of Richard Damania, ‘Lockdown has been the blunt reaction of an ill-prepared society for such an event’. The economic effects, and this does not take into account the possibility of a second or more subsequent waves during the late summer of early autumn of 2020, are the most dramatic since the end of World War II, with a drop of 5% in the GDP of developing countries and 7% or higher in more advanced economies. Some of the short-term effects such as a rise in unemployment and higher poverty rates that may result as well as risk aversion, together with continued and even increased investment in capital intensive production will face society with two options. Either, it ignores the potentially devasting consequences of the situation and persists in a vain attempt to maintain the status quo or the global community grasps may alternatively be perceived as an opportunity in order to improve a general ecological equilibrium, generating sustainable employment, resilient food systems and production and consumption patterns allowing supply chains relying on maintained and even growing natural capital. The latter requires adapting both traditional policy paradigms and educating the general public. This necessary approach to a Green and Digital economy was also highlighted by both, Andrea Rubini and Eduardo Mario Mendiondo, whilst Mukunda Upadhyay reinforced the general opinion by demonstrating, when discussing the advantages of Citizen Science, that ‘Hope is impossible without Cooperation’.

Indeed, the principal conclusion of this first WWQA – COVID-19 WEBINAR was that all the sectors representative of the “Quintuple Helix” (Public sector, Private sector, Research and academia, citizens and cultural interest groups) must unite in order to face the present and future crises of this nature. The questions and suggestions of the 76 participants attending the virtual event tended to support this view. Bernd Gawlik when summarising, reiterated that the exchange of knowledge is a vital element of a process which appeals to the deconstruction of hitherto rigid silo-based socio-economic and scientific practices.

To view the PDF version please click here: WWQA COVID-19 WEBINAR - Part 1

The speakers' presentations' can be accessed via the following links:

Eduardo Mario Mendiondo (the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil):


Mukunda Upadhyay (Oxfam India):