Local recruitment: Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist

The World Bank
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with more than 16,000 staff located globally.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). IBRD and IDA are commonly known as the World Bank, which is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and fourteen Global Practices (GPs) as well as five Cross-Cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs) to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

The Role of the World Bank Group in Water

Water resources are under unprecedented and increasing pressures, driven by greater climate variability, population and economic growth, land use changes, and declining quantities and qualities of both ground and surface waters.  With cross cutting impacts on agriculture, education, energy, health, gender equity, and livelihood, water is an essential resource for all life on the planet and is at the center of economic and social development.  Climate change expresses itself through water and sound water management lies at the heart of the resilience agenda. Successful water management requires accurate knowledge of the resource available and an assessment of competing demands for its usage. Making best use of available supplies requires complex and sensitive economic, environmental and socio-political trade-offs. Planning for a more uncertain and more constrained water environment in the future only makes the situation more complex.

The world will not be able to meet the great development challenges of the 21st century - human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, energy security, and universal access to services – unless we ensure a water-secure world for all. To achieve this goal the Global Practice (GP) will need to work on both water resource management and service delivery issues but in a context where we focus on water in the context of the broader economy.   

The WBG is in a unique position to help governments take such an integrated and strategic approach to solve water supply, sanitation, water resource, hydropower, and irrigation problems through partnership, finance and knowledge.  The Water GP places Water Resource Management (hydrology, economics, storage, groundwater use, rivers and deltas), Service Delivery (to households, businesses and farmers), and an understanding of water in the context of the broader economy at the center of its efforts to help countries address the challenge of managing water.  The Water GP seeks to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed in all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation; managing the trade-offs around the agricultural use of water), disaster risk management (floods and droughts), energy (hydropower; energy cooling systems), management of rivers and deltas, and water supply & sanitation (rural and urban; utility performance; wastewater management; targeting the poor).  In each sub sector an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment and operations in the context of governance, institutions and policies.

The Water Global Practice is organized around: (a) a Senior Practice Director and two Practice Directors in the Front Office; (b) 9 region-facing Practice Managers (PMs) covering Africa, Europe and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia; (c) a PM for Global Programs and (d) five cross-cutting Global Solutions Groups (GSGs) led by 5 Global Leads.  The regional PMs report to one of two Directors in the Practice, while the global PM and the Global Leads report to the Senior Director to reinforce the globality of the Practice. The Water Practice comprises around 300 staff.

Reflecting its leadership in the global water agenda, the Global Water Practice also sustains and manages several external partnerships.  In addition, the Water Practice has launched the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP), which provides support across the full water cycle agenda and with a consolidated results framework fully integrated with all other operational engagements of the Water Practice.

The Water Sector in the Pacific Region

The East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) water unit of GWADR covers a combination of countries, including the Pacific island countries, China, Mongolia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.  For the Pacific, the EAP water unit has an increasing presence in the region, which includes the following projects and a number of analytical work related to delivery of water supply and sanitation; and resilience to climate change.

  • In Papua New Guinea, the Water Supply and Sanitation Development Project (US$70m) is supporting the development and strengthening of the planning and implementation capacity of the water sector institutions and increasing access to water supply services in selected urban towns and rural districts. The water program is also supporting the implementation of PNG’s first National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Behavior Policy through a combination of infrastructure lending and technical assistance.
  • In the Solomon Islands, the proposed Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project (US$82 million co-financed with ADB and EU), aims to improve access and quality of water supply and sewerage services in Honiara and several provincial capitals. A focus will be put in this project on the development of services in informal settlements.

Finally, the Bank is supporting the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (PWWA) in its effort to build utilities’ capacity across the region to monitor their performance and apply bench-marking tools.

Role & Responsibilities

The selected candidate will report to the Practice Manager responsible for EAP and is expected to mainly work on the Pacific program but will also work on other Water GP activities globally, as needed.  The candidate will be expected to work independently on complex projects/issues with guidance from senior specialists and Task Team Leaders (TTLs). The successful candidate will support the lending and advisory services and analytics activities in the areas of water supply and sanitation and climate resilience/adaptation, with the following duties:

  • Support Bank Task Teams and/or participate in projects providing technical support in the identification, preparation and supervision of projects as well as in the preparation and implementation of analytical and advisory activities including formulation of background documents, monitoring progress of projects, and undertaking regular field visits.
  • Generate knowledge reports in Advisory Services and Analytics (ASAs) activities for the Water Global Practice.
  • Maintain liaison and dialogue with donors, development partners, research institutions, government counterpart, non-Government organizations, the private sector and other sector-related institutions.
  • Supervise the appointment and work of short-term consultants and firms ensuring consistency and conformity to Bank standards; and evaluate studies and sector-related project documentation.
  • Provide technical support to the task teams, as needed, liaising closely and coordinating the water related activities with other Global Practices and Country Management Unit (CMU).
  • Monitor and provide advisory support for the adherence to World Bank’s operational policies and quality requirements in technical and fiduciary due diligence.

Selection Criteria

The preferred candidate will meet the following criteria:

  • A Master’s level degree, in a field relevant to water supply and sanitation, including civil, sanitary or environmental engineering, water resources/environmental management, economist, or other related fields;
  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience in water supply and sanitation, with a strong focus on developing countries; experience in water resources management would be a plus;
  • Knowledge and experience working with water utilities would be a plus;
  • Experience in coordinating and/or managing multi-disciplinary projects on water and sanitation; 
  • Project management experience in international institutions/companies would be a plus;
  • Good understanding of policy, institutional, regulatory and management frameworks for water supply and sanitation, particularly in the context of developing countries;
  • High level of energy, initiative and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • Ability to effectively dialogue with and relate to clients and stakeholders

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Required Competencies

In addition to the above, the successful candidate should demonstrate the following:

  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Understands policy making process; distills operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients.
  • Policy Dialogue Skills - Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders.
  • Operational Skills – Extensive experience and knowledge with operational requirements of donors and Government in the context of internationally financed projects and programs would be a plus.
  • Integrative Skills - Working to develop an integrated view across all facets of current sector.
  • Water Policy and Strategy – Significant understanding of water policies and strategies and their role in delivering outcomes to end users/customers.
  • Water Institutions – Strong understanding of water supply and sanitation sector institutions (ministries, regulators, service providers, community organizations) and how they are best organized to deliver services to end users in a sustainable manner.
  • Water Financing – Basic understanding of approaches to water supply and sanitation sector financing of both capital and O&M costs
  • Water Supply and Sanitation Infrastructure and Technologies - Direct experience with water supply and sanitation infrastructure and technologies.
  • Lead and Innovate - Develops innovative solutions.
  • Deliver Results for Clients - Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.
  • Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries - Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.
  • Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - Applies knowledge across GPs and WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
  • Make Smart Decisions - Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.