During the WaterLinks exhibition held in Manila, Mai Flor, Executive Director of WaterLinks, one of the largest event and exhibition organizers of water and utilities in the Philippines talks to GineersNow TV about their services, solutions, and the water industry in Asia.
About the Leader
MAI FLOR, a Filipino national, has degrees in Law and Economics from the University of the Philippines, and more than 20 years of work experience in the urban water supply sector having worked for government, private enterprise and international development institutions. Mai is currently the Executive Director of WaterLinks, a regional network founded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to promote Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs) or peer-to-peer learning between water and wastewater providers in Asia to expand and improve quality access to safe water and sustainable sanitation.
Mai has worked with the Suez Group where she represented the Group in negotiations with the Government that involved an amendment of the Concession Agreement reinstating the foreign currency adjustment, international arbitration, corporate rehabilitation and debt restructuring of Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and the retender of 84% shares of the Government’s share in Maynilad following the exit of the largest private shareholder, Lopez Group, from the company.
As Head of Business Development for Miya in Asia, Mai helped expand its business model through negotiation and closure of performance-based contracts in non-revenue water management. In this capacity, she also assisted the ADB in the design of a performance-based contract for non-revenue water management in water supply systems for a pilot area in Kolkata, India, a first for ADB.
Earlier in her career with the Philippine Government, Mai helped structure the joint venture agreement for water and sewerage operations at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone including groundwork for the structure of a regulatory office to govern the private operator, a first PPP contract for the water sector in the Philippines.
Mai served as Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Water Resources Development and Management as well as Task Force El Nino under then Philippine President, Fidel V. Ramos. In that capacity, she led the work on water sector reform in the Philippines coordinating the activities of over 20 government agencies and ensuring an effective response to combat the impacts on water supply, irrigation and hydropower requirements by the one of the worst droughts to hit the country.
Mai’s background, experience, and manner have positioned her on several global panels, and speaking engagements at a variety of international fora. She is a globally recognised sector leader having served as a member of the Nominating Committee of the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize (2007-2012), the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for the water sector. She also served as a member of the Selection Committee of the Stockholm Industry Prize (2012-2016). Earlier she was on the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership (2000-2003), served as a member of an Advisory Panel to guide and monitor a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project on Sustainable Decentralized Wastewater Management in Developing Countries implemented by the Asian Institute of Technology, and most recently has been invited as a member of the Scientific Program Committee for the Stockholm Water Week (2018-2021).
Established in 2008, WaterLinks is a fully independent, non-profit organization that facilitates Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs) in the Asia-Pacific region and catalyzes efficiency improvements to enhance and expand access to urban water and sanitation services. It is registered as a non-government organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is based in Manila, Philippines
WaterLinks’ principal activities are:
- WOPs support and facilitation;
- Regional capacity building program development (e.g. training, toolkits, manuals, studies); and
- Knowledge management, and networking.
WaterLinks works with regional partners on knowledge sharing, training, and networking activities that strengthen regional platforms and identify opportunities for new WOPs. Partner networks include the Indonesian Water Supply Association (PERPAMSI), Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD), Indian Water Works Association (IWWA), Southeast Asia Water Utility Network (SEAWUN), and various water and wastewater operators across Asia. WaterLinks looks forward to collaborating with other partners interested in promoting and supporting WOPs in the Asia-Pacific region to enable improved and expanded access to safe water supply and sustainable sanitation.
Among the focus areas WaterLinks works in are:
- Non-revenue water management
- Water quality management
- Septage and sanitation management
- Asset management
- Climate change adaptation
To date, WaterLinks has facilitated over 80 WOPs with the following results:
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