Urban Waters – International Water Conference I

Water is a human right and a scarce commodity. According to estimates, water consumption in the world will increase by 650 percent by the year 2025. Water is scarce and its quality is compromised as a result of population explosion, urbanization, economic growth and rising living standards throughout the whole world.

Berlin is one of the few large cities that obtains its drinking water from its own sources. Recognising this, Berlin has specific experience in urban water management. In October 2004, more than 120 high-ranking water experts met, coming from more than 30 cities around the world to the First International Water Conference in Berlin. The Department for Economics, Labour and Women’s Issues hosted, in cooperation with the BGZ.

The conference was aimed at professionals from both public and private water companies and universities, as well as stakeholders responsible for the water sector in politics and administration.

At the conference, actors had the opportunity to discuss issues concerning countries and stakeholders in the water sector, to present best practices and share experience and know-how. Topics were sustainability in water management, the utilisation of resources in the technology and in management and possibilities of know-how transfer.

Three key aspects were addressed in parallel forums: water quality problem, water losses and wastewater management. The panel discussion focused on “Public Private Partnership in the city’s water sector”. The “Market of Opportunities” with information desks from partner cities and company visits complemented the conference program.

The conference impressively demonstrated how international partnerships can help to solve local problems.

“The conference is very informative. Through the animated exchange of ideas and experience I was given a comprehensive insight into the situation in other towns. A big “Thank you” to the organisers, who had planned everything perfectly. We felt we were guided well through the separate events.”

Phindile Shuping, Johannesburg Water, South Africa

Project photos


Conference documentation: Urban Waters: Problems and Solutions with regard to Sustainability (PDF)
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Berlin partners:

Senate Department for Economics, Labour and Women’s Issues, InWEnt, Water Competence Centre, Berlin waterworks, BerlinWasser International, Veolia, European Academy, Technical University, Senate Chancellery, Advisory council for development cooperation

Transnational partners:

Third World Centre for Water Management (Mexico), Community H.E.A.R.T. (South Africa), Mosvodakanal (RU) amongst others


Dr. Ines Klemm
Tel. +49(30)809941-15


State of Berlin, Senate Department for Economics, Labour and Women’s Issues