SoS / Report / Foreword /


Junaid Ahmad, 


Dear Colleagues,

Two years ago, 120 officials and professionals responsible for water and wastewater services in the Danube region met in Vienna to discuss the sector’s situation and launch the Danube Water Program. Back then, as today, a priority was to exchange experience and knowledge about regional trends, challenges, and opportunities in ensuring smart policies, strong utilities, and sustainable services for all. In many ways, this mirrors the World Bank’s own approach to reduce extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity, our institution’s overarching goals.

In the Water Global Practice, we not only focus on access to services but also on sustainability, and we understand institutions and policies matter. We work with our clients and the best analysis and knowledge available to inform, design, and implement the policies and programs that will bring sustainable water and wastewater services for all, especially the poor and less privileged. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to introduce this regional State of the Sector review, which I hope will provide a further basis for such important exchanges to continue to create solutions for the people in this region.

I would like to warmly thank the Ministry of Finance of Austria, whose financial support has been essential to the success of the Danube Water Program, and in particular the realization of this study; the International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area, which has been a strong partner of the World Bank under the Danube Water Program; and most importantly, all of you, individuals and institutions, who have contributed information, knowledge, experience, and time to the Program’s activities and this report, in particular. I hope you will find it worth your effort. I look forward to continuing this partnership to ensure sustainable services for all in the Danube region.


Junaid Ahmad

Senior Director

Water Global Practice

The World Bank Group


Walter Kling


The establishment of the Danube Water Program involved the coming together of two very different organizations - IAWD on the one side - an association of water utilities in the Danube River catchment - and the World Bank on the other. The marriage of these two very different organizations is reflected in the management of the program - IAWD is responsible for capacity building, particularly directly for utilities, and the World Bank is primarily responsible for the policy, analytical, and governance aspects of the program. Despite the divisions that exist, the program has been managed in a shared manner, focused on synergy between the expertise and networks of the respective organizations.

This State of the Sector study is a product of that marriage, where the Bank has taken the lead in bringing its enormous worldwide experience and analytical skills to produce a first-of-its-kind regional study of water services. IAWD is pleased to have played a supportive role in the data collection and providing some informational inputs, but is even more anxious to play a strong role in seeing that this study stimulates actions to improve services.

The World Bank team has done a commendable job in analyzing and presenting information about the sector. It is our expectation that this study will facilitate and support high-level debate on key policy questions (i.e., tariff setting, getting services to the poor), but also should trigger discussion down to the utility level on how best to organize and manage water utilities to achieve efficient and effective services. The people of the Danube region have a right to clean, safe, and efficient water and sanitation services, and this study examines where deficits exist in achieving that goal.

The study, and analytical work behind it, is a necessary building block to improving water services. IAWD looks forward to taking an active role in understanding and using the information presented in this highly informative study. We will also continue to work with the community of people active in the water sector to take the messages and lessons from this study to jointly work on ensuring smart policies, strong utilities, and sustainable services in the Danube region.



Walter Kling

General Secretary

International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area