As part of the cross-border cooperation project funded by the European Union, an online Conference on Energy and Water Efficiency of Water Supply Services in the Cross-Border Area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro was held on October 22 and 23, 2020. It was the first of three planned conferences, aimed at promoting EU standards, policies, and practices to increase water and energy efficiency in the water supply sector in the cross-border area between BiH and Montenegro.
Water efficiency has been a priority activity of most water utilities for many years, while the integrated approach, which implies the implementation of water and energy efficiency measures, has not been given too much importance. Therefore, energy efficiency, and with it the use of renewable energy sources for own needs, is still insufficiently recognized as a strategic commitment that can provide water utilities with long-term financial stability and security of supply. Through continuous capacity building activities and the promotion of good practices from the EU and the region, it is crucial to motivate decision-makers at the local level to set those priorities that will direct investments in a financially viable direction. An integrated approach to water and energy management, along with benchmarking and audits in water utilities, are precisely the tools for making the right decisions and setting priorities.
During the two-day conference, 16 lecturers from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina shared their knowledge and experiences with 105 participants from public water utilities, local governments, ministries of water, energy, economy, sustainable development and environmental protection, and other relevant institution and organization.
The first day of the conference was dedicated to the promotion of experiences of good management of resource-efficient sector by BiH and Montenegrin institutions, and the implementation of standard operating procedures in water supply utilities, while the second day focused on strengthening of existing programs to increase resource efficiency in the water supply sector. Through an interactive discussion, challenges for the implementation of energy and water efficiency measures in the water supply sector were defined, based on which key recommendations were formed.
The Action to Increase Energy and Water Efficiency of Water Supply Services will promote ways to address key challenges in the water supply sector through planned capacity building activities and demonstration activities in four pilot water supply utilities.
With the aim of achieving long-term resource efficiency in the water supply sector, the European Union has financially supported the implementation of the project “Action to Increase Energy and Water Efficiency of Water Supply Services” under the IPA cross-border cooperation program Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro. “Every drop and kilowatt matters” – is the slogan of this project, which seeks to strengthen sustainable development in the cross-border area by implementing joint actions to improve energy and water efficiency of water supply. The project is implemented by the Center for Energy, Environment and Resources – CENER 21 from BiH and the Montenegrin Center for Energy Efficiency from Montenegro. Implementation of the project began on December 1, 2019, and will last for 24 months. With a total project budget of over 305,000 €, 70 municipalities in the cross-border area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are covered.