Mamadou Dia receives development award for achievements in Senegal

Dia accepting his award in Jordan at the IWA Water & Development Congress ©IWA/ABS network

Mamadou Dia, a Senegalese hydraulic engineer with 38 years of experience in the African water sector, has won this year’s IWA Development Award for Practice.
Dia was presented with the award during the IWA Water & Development Congress in Jordan for increasing access to water services–particularly in poor communities–improving the quality of water services and contributing to the IWA’s work on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation.
“This award is a recognition of all the efforts that have been made to prove that in Africa, despite the difficult environment, it is possible to have performing water companies and meet the expectations of customers and institutional partners,” Dia told The Source.
Dia has played a key role in turning Sénégalaise Des Eaux (SDE), Senegal’s major water utility, into a success story: first as deputy director general between 1996 and 2006, and then as managing director from 2006 to 2015.
SDE is today considered one of the best water utilities in sub-Saharan Africa. It is an example of an efficiently run utility, working with a solid financial base, a strong management system and effective service delivery to urban populations in Senegal. SDE has become a showcase for other African water companies, with many visiting SDE’s facilities to learn from its success.
Working with the assets holding company, SONES, SDE has developed pro-poor programmes to ensure access to water. This helped ensure Senegal become one of the few African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for water, with an access rate to safe water of 98 percent in urban areas.
“The water sector in Africa is now more innovative, with performance improving as a main driver to avoid difficult living situations in the future,” Dia added. “Water companies are playing a key role. They should not simply provide a daily service with technical and financial objectives but must have a prospective vision that incorporates the issues of water security and resource protection.”
During Dia’s 20 years at SDE, the production of safe drinking water has increased by more than 70 percent to 165 million cubic metres; water loss from leaking or burst pipes has been reduced by more than 33 percent; families and businesses connected to the water network have increased by over 260 percent; while at the same time theft of water and non-payment of bills has decreased significantly, helping to secure the financial sustainability of SDE.
Since April 2015 Dia has been working as director of Water and Sanitation at Eranove Group and is the vice chairman of SDE and executive president of Aquafed.
“I am committed to continue sharing my experience from these different positions, not only in Africa but also in different regions of the world, where the water sector must be developed to better serve the poor,” he said.