Tirana, 18 May 2022. Strengthen the collaboration among regulators, address common challenges in the national drinking water and wastewater sectors, advance the implementation of the EU water legislation, and set the basis for a regional cooperation programme supported by WAREG the Association of European Water Regulators. These are the key objectives of the MoU signed today in Tirana, between the Presidents of the national water regulatory Authorities of Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia, who are also Members of WAREG.
Andrea Guerrini, President of WAREG and Board Member in the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (ARERA) also signed the MoU at the official ceremony organized by Ndricim Shani the Chair of the Albanian Regulator and Vice President of WAREG, at the presence of Enkelejda Muçaj the Deputy Minister of the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy.
Ndricim Shani hosted the ceremony and stressed that the scope of the Memorandum is to “improve the performance and financial sustainability of the sector, and guarantee that utilities that typically operate in a monopolistic environment provide high-quality services to their customers and flee away from the risk to increase drinking water and wastewater tariffs without a proper justification”.
The Memorandum will trigger a tighter collaboration between the four national water regulators in a region like the Balkans affected by severe problems in water infrastructures, characterized by leakages that generate water losses spanning from 55% to 67% of the total water transported via pipes to households and industries. Other major problems in the region are the limited access to water in rural areas and the huge public investment needed to ensure access to safe drinking water to all the population and to improve the quality of wastewater treatment, in order to preserve the good status of water resources.
Independent water regulators in the region are the best-suited authorities to implement national and European legislation, with their powers to define stable rules in the water sector that are able to attract investment and bridge the needs of local municipalities, water operators and customers. In fact, the role of regulators is to overcome negative externalities generated by local monopolistic powers and to ensure the highest service quality standards for water consumers at the most efficient operational and capital costs incurred by water operators, while preventing an excessive increase in final water prices for the most vulnerable segments of the population.
Professor Andrea Guerrini said that “as WAREG Association, we fully endorse this Memorandum and we will offer our technical expertise and institutional support within our network of European regulators, in order to support regional cooperation on the crucial challenges identified by the four regulators in the Balkans and to help them getting closer to EU standards and to EU Institutions”.
WAREG – European Water Regulators is the Association of European water and wastewater regulators. It is a no-profit Association of national and regional public authorities, with supervising responsibilities on drinking water and wastewater tariffs and with customer protection duties. It currently counts on 25 Members and 5 Observers from EU and EU candidate or potential candidate countries.
Its Secretariat is based in Milan, by the Italian regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (ARERA) and in Brussels, by the Regulatory Authority for Electricity, Gas and Water (BRUGEL). WAREG’s mission is to facilitate proactive cooperation, sharing of best practices, training of officials and capacity-building for its Members, by means of a consolidated network of experts within regulators, international organizations and academia. In Brussels, WAREG aims at informing EU Institutions and stakeholders on the biggest challenges in the drinking water and wastewater sector in Europe and to share tools and methodologies to increase efficiency of costs, transparency of prices and quality of services.