Water Expert Team

WET: The Bank’s Global Water Expert Team

What is WET?

The diversity and complexity of the World Bank water portfolio often needs high-level global expertise to provide solutions to highly complex water-related challenges.  Many projects require additional support at different stages of their design and implementation in order to ensure quality and strengthen their impact on the ground. The Water Expert Team (WET) is a technical support service that identifies and mobilizes on-demand high-level expertise that provides this type of support.

he WET provides quality expertise across all water subsectors, in addition to emerging water-related demands in areas like climate change adaptation, freshwater ecosystem restoration, urban and rural wastewater collection, treatment and disposal, sludge management, water resources governance, and water utility management. Other important areas of focus include water-hazard related disaster risk management and remote sensing for water resources management.

Since its creation, the WET has supported activities in more than 35 client countries across the six World Bank regions. WET assignments have supported World Bank projects across all thematic areas in the water sector. With a quarter of projects having a main focus on climate change adaptation, WET has actively supported new pragmatic approaches aimed at incorporating climate change in the project design. WET has also supported non-conventional initiatives like the use of deep aquifers for urban water supply in Africa and the design of workable solutions for on-site sanitation in flood-prone areas. By combining results of several activities and organizing knowledge-sharing events, the WET actively seeks to stimulate global dialogue in water and make innovative ideas available across countries.

The WET is funded by the Water Partnership Program (WPP). It was created in January 2011 by merging the existing Expert Support Teams (ESTs) in the Water Anchor – the Groundwater Management Advisory Team (GW-MATE), the Hydrology Expert Facility (HEF), and the Sanitation, Hygiene and Wastewater Support Service (SWAT). The WET will continue to cover these themes, but will also support other themes in the water sector as demand develops.

Knowledge products from GW-MATE, HEF and SWAT can be found here:

HEF Publications
SWAT Publications
GWMATE Publications

Download the WET Brochure

WET Results:

Integrated Urban Water Management:

  • WET support to Uganda helped to finalize development of a sound Water Information System, which is fundamental to robust water resources planning, development, including for future projects. The report recommended limited real-time data capture, which a largely new approach for Uganda.
  • The WET supported Morocco’s Oum er Rbia Climate Change study – one of the first such activities in Morocco – which will establish a benchmark and a model for other River Basin Agencies in the future. The support helped prepare draft TORs for the River Basin Agency management and senior staff to review. The results of the activity are likely to be replicated in other river basins.
  • To strengthen the Sanaga River basin project, the WET supported sustainable development of basic infrastructure and natural resources as well as improved institutional frameworks and governance. The innovative stakeholder consultations resulted in strong support for an integrated water resource management approach in Cameroon, and the WET recommended ways to move forward in the basin.

Groundwater:

  • In southern Africa, in support of the GEF SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project, support from the WET guided development of an innovative toolkit to increase awareness of groundwater issues, focusing on policy makers.  The WET supported development and testing of interventions that have reduced the vulnerability of communities and groundwater dependent ecosystems.
  • In Kenya, WET support for aquifer evaluation and water resources management is expected to contribute to poverty reduction by ensuring an increased supply of safe and clean water to people in poor areas currently outside of service areas. Adequate water supply should improve health and the time and effort girls use to fetch water for their families. 

Climate Change:

  • WET-supported analyses and recommendations strengthened disaster risk management project and hydrometeorological functions in Albania and ensured the quality of critical tools and infrastructure. The activity will help reduce poverty, decreasing poor people’s vulnerability by decreasing their exposure to hazards and by helping local communities and the government to plan and prepare for a disaster. The WET also helped to harmonize the support to the GoA from various donors, based on global experience and best practice in the hydrometeorological services.
  • In support of Urban Flood Management efforts in Mozambique, WET support introduced climate change considerations into ToRs for drainage studies and enhanced project capabilities to address urban flood issues in the city of Beira. This is expected to contribute to efforts to reduce flooding in the city, thus protecting poor households’ assets and quality of life from the effects of floods, such as cholera outbreaks, which occur after each flood event in Mozambique.

Water supply and sanitation / Utilities

  • WET support for basic sanitation for indigenous communities in Paraguay introduced innovative participatory approaches as well as new designs for sanitation, combining bath and latrines, adapted to local communities.  The activity targets poor, indigenous communities in rural and peri-urban areas. Improved sanitation should contribute to improved health and thus to poverty reduction.
  • In Paraguay, as a result of WET support for Urban Water Utilities Performance Monitoring improvement, the utility company started an organizational restructuration to improve performance.  The WET support will contribute to improved water utility service delivery to the poor, and thus to poverty reduction.

Wastewater Treatment / Irrigation

  • WET support for the Mauritius Infrastructure improved the design of wastewater treatment plant, including infrastructure design, estimates of anticipated wastewater flows, raw wastewater quality and treated wastewater quality standards, and treatment options.
  • In Kyzylorda Governorate, the poorest and most remote governorate in Kazakhstan, , the WET supported a technical report on Irrigation Management Transfers as well as training materials that can be used for similar I&D projects. By helping to improve irrigation, drainage and water resources management, the activity will protect farmers and their livelihoods, as well as the general prosperity of an area where agriculture is a major economic activity and water resources are scarce.

Hydropower

  • In support of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydropower project, the WET supported an analysis of the likely effects of climate change on the proposed project, which aims to increase electricity power generation and transmission network capacity in NEL countries. The WET support will contribute to poverty reduction in the region by helping the project to improve access to reliable and low cost power in the NEL countries in an environmentally sustainable manner.