The Utilities Regulatory Authority (Authority) and Department of Water Resources (DoWR) held a one-day Strategic Day which involved lengthy discussions and dialogue on way forward on Monday, 3rd September 2018.
The Strategic Day held the objectives to inform, educate and bring clarity on the related Government priority policies, water projects and planning and how the Authority could effectively make parallel its advisory to the service within the current regulatory framework to assist both institutions achieve their Values and Missions along the theme “Policy Makers and Regulators Building Trust and Flexibility to Deliver Better Outcomes for the Future”.
The meeting was attended by CEO and Staff from the Authority including the Acting Director General of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Acting Director of Water Resources and Project Manager of the DoWR.
The meeting allowed for both institutions to identify Government policies in place and associated work plans at hand. Challenges were also outlined and discussions around solutions were exchanged.
Both institutions having benefited from the meeting will form an Agreed Outcome Document which will document proposed solutions to the identified challenges, while bearing in mind the best interest of water consumers around Vanuatu.
The DoWR currently plays two (2) other major roles apart from Policy maker — as a Regulator of water works and water use Permits to the extent of water concessionaires and; as a Service Provider providing water services to public in Luganville, parts of Tanna and Malekula.
These roles are quite distinct and separate in the nature of output and pose their individual challenges.
The Authority in understanding these different responsibilities of the DoWR, acknowledge and share the similar vision of affordability, safety, reliability and access will ensure that its future planning progresses are efficient for the betterment of water consumers while facilitating policies of the Government.
The Authority was set up under the Utilities Regulatory Authority Act No. 11 of 2007. It is an independent body and its primary purpose is to maximize access to safe, reliable and affordable electricity and water services to homes and businesses, and to protect the long-term interests of consumers throughout Vanuatu.
The Authority is mandated by the Utilities Regulatory Authority Act No. 11 of 2007 (the ‘Act’) to regulate commercialized water services throughout Vanuatu to ensure the services are reliable, customer friendly, affordable and available to all who demand it.
The DoWR is established under the Water Resource Management Act No. 2 of 2010 and the Water Supply Act [CAP 24] and serves the main functions to facilitate and manage water, ensuring that all citizens have access to safe, clean, and affordable water.