The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) held a conference on "Financing Water and Sanitation Services: Options and Constraints" in Washington, D. C. on 10-11 November...

Regional: The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) held a conference on "Financing Water and Sanitation Services: Options and Constraints" in Washington, D. C. on 10-11 November, during which experts proposed ways to break the cycle of inadequate investment, inadequate water rates and falling external investment, through system reforms that will put into place more viable rates that reflect costs and benefits.

Experts also stressed the need for cooperation between public and private sectors, regulation that serves the needs of different groups in a climate of greater transparency and confidence and participation by affected communities.

The IADB estimates that an investment of US$ 40 billion in the next 12 years is needed to meet the United Nations Millennium goals. These UN goals propose that by 2015 the number of world population without adequate water and sanitation services will be reduced by half. In Latin America, this is a considerable challenge where, taking into account expected population increase, water services will need to be extended to nearly 120 million persons and sanitation services to nearly 140 million persons.

Anne Krueger, first deputy manager of the International Monetary Fund, stressed the need for consumers to be accustomed to paying for service. Guillermo Yepes of the IADB criticised the practice of "cross subsidies." Although the theory is that the rich will pay more than the poor, in practice these subsidies "have not accomplished any of their objectives of bringing service to the needy," he explained.

Canada: Following a successful pilot study, the City of St. John's, Newfoundland chose USFilter's 70-million litres per day (mld) Memcor® continuous microfiltration submerged (CMF-S) system to comply with water treatment regulatory requirements. The overall system will include primary and backwash recovery CMF-S units as the main treatment units along with corrosion protection and final disinfection. The backwash units will increase the overall plant recovery to 99.4%, reducing wastewater volume to less than 0.5 mld. USFilter, part of the French water company Veolia Environment company, is based in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.

USA: The American Planning Association (APA), San Diego section, awarded Poseidon Resources Corporation and Cabrillo Power 1 for their "Innovative Use of Technology" for a seawater desalination demonstration facility in Carlsbad. The facility is a testing and education project designed to validate technology, test environmental impacts, and educate the public and key stakeholder groups.

The 36,000-gallon-per-day plant is located on the grounds of Cabrillo's Encina Power Station where Poseidon is planning to build a 50-million gpd desalination facility. Poseidon is discussing a public-private partnership arrangement with the San Diego County Water Authority and the City of Carlsbad to build the full-scale project, which could produce high-quality drinking water by 2007. Poseidon is based in San Diego, California, USA. For more information, visit the company website

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