• Water is essential for life and there’s no substitute! The UN’s “2030 Agenda” has set the goal target 6 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.–Tomás A. Sancho, Chair of WGW (Spain)water@wfeo.org

Vision and Mission

Water security is essential to achieve SDG 6 and resilience to climate change requires that engineering will provide knowledge and technology, leading water governance and its efficient use.

WFEO, with the support of a Working Group, must acquire greater relevance in water global decisions, showing the society the importance of engineering to improve the living conditions of all mankind.


Today, engineering urgently needs to have a stronger voice on the water scene, in order to remind the society and politicians the importance of its contribution. We need to provide a strong platform to coordinate the engineering water work around the world and so, WFEO will be able to make a significant contribution to reach the global water goals.

In 2015, 844 million people lacked even a basic water service, 2.1 billion people lacked safely managed drinking water, and 4.5 billion people worldwide lacked a safely managed sanitation service. More than 2 billion people are living in countries experiencing high water stress.

Engineering contributions will be essential to reach this target. Adapting to climate change is making the challenge even more difficult.

Engineers are needed to design and operate dams and reservoirs, channels, pipelines, water treatment plants, and also for planning and managing water resources. New nature-based engineering solutions are emerging to improve rivers, underground aquifers and urban drainage. Safe wastewater re-use and desalination will be needed as well. New irrigation technologies are needed as agriculture demands account for 70% of all water use.

Engineers are also needed to help prepare for floods and droughts to reduce economic losses from natural disasters.

Integrating information technology into water and sanitation systems offers exciting new solutions. Improved tracking of water flow and consumption can provide the improved security needed to attract private investment while still ensuring that reliable services meet basic human needs.


Water has a well-established international dynamics with publications and recurring appointments (Global Conferences) in which we miss the specific engineering contribution, quite necessary to achieve real and effective goals.

WGW activities shall be addressed to make this to engineering in these publications and appointments, highlighting the role of engineering and contributing effectively to reach the desired results.

Among these activities are:

• Contributions to the SDG 6 and their goals through participation in UN Water Task Force Groups.
SDG 6 includes eight global targets that are universally applicable and aspirational. However, each government must decide how to incorporate them into national planning processes, policies and strategies based on national realities, capacities, levels of development and priorities. They cover the entire water cycle including: provision of drinking water (target 6.1) sanitation and hygiene services (target 6.2), treatment and reuse of wastewater and ambient water quality (target 6.3), water-use efficiency and scarcity (6.4), implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation (target 6.5), protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems (6.6), international cooperation and capacity-building (target 6.A) and participation in water and sanitation management (target 6.B).

WFEO can participate providing its inputs through the World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE) representative, Tomás A. Sancho, because it is partner of UN Water and it is invited to that.

• Participation in international forums in which the water policy is conceived
At least, providing key-note speakers and presentation of papers on behalf of WFEO at the World Water Forums (every 3 years) and in the annual meeting of SIWI (annual Stockholm Water week). Also in important regional events.

• Preparation of engineering positions and statements typical of engineering and Contribution to global documents of UN Water and their agencies (annual preparation), such as the yearly WWDR – World Water Development Report – .
This involves working on the various documents produced through participation in the corresponding Groups. Associations with specialized global organizations that are considered relevant for work will be established.

The activities will be developed in two ways:

  1. Collecting and disseminating the activities performed by different members of the WFEO and their professionals.
  2. Specific initiatives that can agree on the WGW, that require specific works to be developed by experts, which must have specific funding to be carried out.

If it is convenient, they will be developed counting with global specialized associations such as IAHR (International Association of Hydro-environment and Research), IWA (International Water Association), INBO (International Network of Basin Organizations) or ICOLD (International Comission on Large Dams).

There will be three specific products:

  • 1st Product: “Managing droughts and floods: Best practices and engineering contribution”. Summer 2019, with delivery anticipated at WEC2019.
  • 2nd Product: “Achieving SDG 6 (Water goals): Contribution from engineering”. Summer 2020
  • 3rd Product: “Adaptation to climate change: water and engineering contribution”. Summer 2021


The Proposal is to create an specific Working Group of WFEO, new and with independent status because the importance of water in the global agenda and also because several Standing Technical Committees are involved and must collaborate.
SDG 6 deals with water. The agencies of UN Water are involved, with external agents, in the UN-Water organization. Water is present in several global events as the World Water Forum.

Other SDGs depend on water, particularly those relating to food and energy production, biodiversity, and land and sea ecosystems. Water-food-energy nexus requires a coordinated action. The inextricable linkages between these critical domains require a suitably integrated approach to ensuring water and food security, and sustainable agriculture and energy production worldwide- More crops for drop is needed for food security. Thirsty energy needs integrate energy-water infrastructure. Engineering is needed for reach these challenges.

Head of the Working Group: Tomás A. Sancho, past president of the WCCE and its Standing Committee on Water, with Teodoro Estrela as Executive Secretary of the WG.
Headquarters and Secretary: Madrid, in the headquarters of the IIE (Instituto de Ingeniería de España) – Spain
The working group will collaborate with the Standing Committee on Water of the WCCE, which has already been working years. WCCE is partner of UN Water. This Committee is sited in Spain (country with relevant role and knowledge in water issues, and that is a bridge between Europe, America and the Mediterranean).

Specific Product Groups

This core must be reinforced with other geographies and with other branches of engineering in the WFEO. The basis will be the national members of the WFEO. It is proposed proposes the creation of Specific Product Groups (SPG) in which at less three regions will be present, because the water issues has different peculiarities in each region.
The regions are:

  • North America
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Asia-Pacific

Coordinating Committee

A Coordinator shall be appointed in each SPG, who will be integrated into the Coordination Committee of the WGW, jointly with the Chair of the WG and the Executive Secretary.

The three coordinators will come from different regions.

Spain will provide the Coordinator of the first SPG (“Managing Droughts and Floods: Best practices and engineering contribution”)

The Chair can invite some professionals of recognized prestige in the matter when he consider convenient.
The Coordinating Committee will meet once a month by videoconference.

Membership and Meetings

Each organization concerned can appoint a representative as a member of the WGW, preferably water expert.
The meetings will be held twice a year, open to the tele-participation, coinciding with the General meetings of the WFEO and its various bodies and Committees.
Each SPG will have their own meetings, open to the teleconference. Chair and Executive Secretary will be invited to attend them.
For each specific initiative, the Coordinating Committee may appoint professionals of recognized prestige to be added to the corresponding works, as well as professionals proposed by the WFEO member organizations.