28th General Assembly of WAREG Addresses Water Challenges and Regulatory Progress

Press release 28th General Assembly – 6 and 7 June 2023

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Press release 28th General Assembly – 6 and 7 June 2023

How does the ongoing revision of the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive impact WAREG members? How can capacity-building projects serve as a valuable tool in fostering the regulatory capacities of WAREG Members?

Pristina, Kosovo – June 7, 2023 – The 28th General Assembly of the Association of European Water Regulators (WAREG) concluded successfully in Pristina, Kosovo, hosted by the National Water Regulator of Kosovo, WSRA on June 6 and 7 2023. The two-day event brought together water and wastewater regulators from across Europe to discuss vital water-related challenges and advancements in regulatory practices.

The General Assembly commenced with a warm welcome and introductory remarks by Hajrije Morina, Chair of the Water Services Regulatory Authority (WSRA), and Andrea Guerrini, President of WAREG.

Ms Morina expressed her gratitude to all participants,

“It is an honour to host this esteemed gathering of water regulators. The 28th General Assembly provides a significant opportunity to exchange experiences, learn from one another, and collectively address the pressing water challenges. By collaborating and sharing best practices, we can create a more sustainable and resilient water future for Europe and Kosovo.”

Hajrije Morina, Chair of the Water Services Regulatory Authorit

President Andrea Guerrini emphasised the importance of regulatory cooperation:

WAREG serves as a vital platform for water regulators across Europe to come together, exchange knowledge, and tackle common issues. This General Assembly offers another opportunity to strengthen our collaborative efforts and develop innovative regulatory approaches that drive positive change in the water sector. Together, we can achieve our shared goals of ensuring efficient, sustainable, and high-quality water services for all European citizens.”

Andrea Guerrini, WAREG President

One of the significant highlights of the Assembly was the request for WAREG membership presented by the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission of Ukraine (NEURC). The NEURC’s Chairman delivered a compelling short speech emphasising the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in addressing the challenges Ukraine is getting through. The General Assembly of WAREG unanimously approved the Ukrainian request for Membership, making it the 25th Member of our association. 

The Assembly also featured a presentation by WSRA, shedding light on the regulation and water challenges specific to Kosovo. The insights shared during this session provided valuable perspectives for attendees to consider when formulating effective regulatory strategies.

WAREG’s work program implementation took centre stage, with a focus on three ongoing capacity-building projects. These projects included the KEP Project, funded by the Central European Initiative (CEI); TAIEX, funded by the European Commission; and WAREG’s Peer-review of the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (GNERC) tariff methodology. Progress updates were presented to the Assembly.

These capacity-building projects are important as they not only enhance the regulatory competencies of beneficiary countries but also foster increased cooperation among European nations, promoting effective and harmonized regulatory practices in the region. Additionally, the TAIEX and KEP projects presented to the assembly contribute to the development of regulatory practices in the Western Balkans. On the other hand, the project involving the review of tariff methodologies in Georgia represents a new area of activity for WAREG. It marks the first time that WAREG is allowing its member countries to utilize the expertise of the WAREG Network to work on regulatory projects of other Members for a prolonged time. The expansion of WAREG’s scope further strengthens its role in capacity building and knowledge sharing across borders.

The Assembly also facilitated a comprehensive discussion on the recast of the European Union’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. Attendees were provided with updates and actively engaged in an open dialogue, emphasising the significance of adequate wastewater treatment practices for sustainable water management.

Then, addressing the vital nexus between water and energy, the organisation of the 3rd European Forum on the Regulation of Water Services (EFWRS) took centre stage. EFRWS is the flagship event of WAREG, organised every two years, and represents a unique moment of gathering for water regulators, practitioners and stakeholders of the sector from around Europe. In 2023 the Forum will focus on exploring innovative approaches and regulatory frameworks concerning the Water to Energy Nexus, encouraging participants to exchange ideas and best practices. WAREG will organise the event in Brussels in December 2023.

President Andrea Guerrini led a discussion on the regulatory choices for estimating allowed energy costs, inspiring attendees to consider effective methodologies that ensure fairness and transparency in energy pricing.

Subsequently, Vice-President Ivaylo Kastchiev presented the first draft of the WAREG report on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in WAREG Members’ Countries. This report represents a comprehensive review of the KPIs used by Members across Europe. It involved an extensive and meticulous process of data gathering, review, and systematization to understand the various KPIs employed in different countries and how they are formulated. The purpose of this report is to lay the groundwork for standardizing KPIs across Europe. By analyzing the KPIs currently in use and examining their formulation, the report aims to identify commonalities, best practices, and areas for improvement. This process is crucial for promoting harmonized regulatory practices and ensuring consistency and comparability in energy sector performance measurements throughout the continent. The report on KPIs will be soon be published by WAREG with the public.

The second day of the General Assembly continued focusing on capacity-building projects. In collaboration with the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), WAREG hosted a TAIEX Regional Workshop on Key Performance Indicators and Sunshine Regulation in the Water Supply and Sanitation sectors for the Western Balkans. This project aimed to benefit Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia attending as observers to the workshop. The workshop provided a platform for knowledge exchange and capacity building, enhancing the regulatory capacities of WAREG members and observer countries.