Fonds - Records of the Water Development Sector

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the Water Development Sector


  • 1973 - 1992 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

90.00 linear feet of textual records (approximate)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Functional responsibility for waterrelated activities was first articulated in the Bank's organizational structure on January 18, 1965 when the reorganization of the Bank's Technical Operations Department (TOD, September 1952 to January 18, 1965) into the new Projects Department (PRJ) occurred. The Projects Department was responsible for the identification, appraisal and supervision of projects, as well as policy formulation, research and advice in support of the operational activities of the area departments. The Department initially had five subordinate divisions: Agriculture Division (PRJAG); Education Division (PRJED); Transportation Division (PRJTP); Public Utilities Division (PRJPU); and Industry Division (PRJIN). Water supply staff was briefly located in the Industry Division but after the Division's transfer to the International Finance Corporation on April 19, 1965, a new and separate division was created in the Projects Department called the Water Supply Division (PRJWS). Soon after, on January 1, 1967, the Water Supply Division was merged into the Public Utilities Division of the Projects Department.

On November 1, 1968, the Projects Department was terminated and the subordinate divisions were upgraded to the department level. The Public Utilities Department (PBP) was one of the newly created departments and comprised the following divisions: Power Division I (PBPP1); Power Division II (PBPP2); Power Division III (PBPP3); Water Supply Division I (PBPW1); and the Telecommunications Division (PBPTE). In or around January 1970, another Water Supply Division II (PBPW2) was established in the Department.

The Public Utilities Department was responsible for:

  • providing advice, conducting research, and monitoring developments in sector issues;

  • carrying out sector studies with the objective of identifying projects and determining priorities within sectors;

  • preparing policy papers outlining the basic principles and approaches of the Bank relating to project and sector work;

  • preparing guidelines and standards;

  • appraising proposed projects and supervising projects in execution;

  • assisting in the identification and preparation of projects;

  • providing operational support in the negotiation and administration of loans and credits;

  • cooperating with other international agencies on programs of common interest.

As part of a larger reorganization of departments and staff on October 1, 1972, most of the Public Utilities Department staff was dispersed to regional project departments in newly established regional vice presidencies. This was undertaken in order to more effectively fuse country knowledge and sector skills. The remaining centralized staff made up the sector operating departments and performed advisory services for the regions. They were responsible for improving and maintaining the quality of Bank lending and related operations through: formulating policies, methodology and guidelines; providing operational support and advice; and managing related programs of recruitment assistance, staff development and education. Some departments, which had only a small number of staff, remained completely centralized and retained operational responsibilities; they were referred to as centralized operating projects departments (COPD). Both sector operating departments and centralized operating projects departments reported to the newly created Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP).

On April 1, 1976, the Public Utilities Department was renamed Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department (EWT) to clarify its functional responsibilities. No structural changes accompanied the renaming of the department. However, on July 1, 1979, the Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department was terminated after the energy functions were upgraded to an independent Energy Department (EGY). The water supply and telecommunications functions were transferred to the Transportation Department (TRP) to form the new Transportation, Water and Telecommunications Department (TWT).

In 1978, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme was initiated. Originally intended to examine and test costeffective technologies and models for providing safe water and sanitation to the world's poor, its focus expanded in the 1980s and 90s into the development of models and field projects. Funding for the Programme has been provided by the UNDP and the World Bank as well as more than a dozen bilateral aid agencies, host governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. Since its inception, the Program has been managed by the World Bank on behalf of the Programme's contributors and has reported to the various Directors who managed the World Bank's waterrelated functions, beginning with the Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department in 1978. In 2000, the Program shortened its name to the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and in 2001 it adopted a charter that established a Water and Sanitation Program Council (WSPC).

The telecommunications function of the Transportation, Water and Telecommunications Department was moved to the newly established Industry Department (IND) in March 1982, whereupon the department included only Transportation and Water. Subsequently, on July 1, 1983, the independent Urban Projects Department (URB) was merged with Water to form the Water Supply and Urban Development Department (WUD). Part of this reorganization involved the removal of the transportation function from the previous Transportation and Water Department and the recreation of an independent Transportation Department (TRP). The Water Supply and Urban Development Department operated as a sector department with responsibility for operations and development policy formulation, research, operational support and quality control for project and sector work.

On July 1, 1987, a Bankwide reorganization resulted in the termination of almost all organizational units. A new department, the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department (INU), incorporated the previous Water Supply and Urban Development Department and Transportation Department, and was placed in the Sector Policy and Research VicePresidency (PRE, then PRS). The PRE had no responsibility for managing operational activities but, rather, focused on operational support, the formulation of Bankwide sector policies and overseeing the ex post evaluation of Bankwide sector work and lending. The units within the PRE concentrated on policy creation and analysis, support for operations and sectoral research for emerging priority areas of the Bank.

The Infrastructure and Urban Development Department was responsible for:

  • developing, in consultation with the Regions, priorities for research and policy on key issues in water, sanitation and waste management;

  • conducting policy analyses, research, external liaison, operational support, and related quality enhancement activities on various economic, technical, environmental, institutional and management issues;

  • advising on water, sanitation and waste management issues in the design of country strategies, and in adjustment and sector operations;

  • providing operational support to strengthen links among research, policy and projects;

  • reviewing annual performance of Bank operations in the water, sanitation and waste management sector;

  • disseminating research results and policy studies for the sector and organizing and conducting appropriate training seminars on emerging issues in the sector; and

  • managing the joint UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, including reporting responsibility to UNDP (and other donors).

On December 1, 1991, President Lewis Preston's first reorganization abolished all Senior VicePresidencies. The new Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency (OSP) was created and adopted functions previously supervised by Senior Vice Presidents, including the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department. On January 1, 1993, as part of a larger initiative to align the Bank's organization with the priority areas of its poverty reduction effort, the Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency was terminated. It was replaced by three new thematic vice presidencies: Human Resources Development and Operations Policy (HRO), Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD), and Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD).

The water function was placed in the newly created Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU). The Department was organized within the Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency alongside three other sector or thematic departments: the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (AGR), Environment Department (ENV), and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Secretariat. At the time of the creation of the Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department, it had the following divisions: the Transportation Division (TWUTD), the Urban Development Division (TWURDS), the Water and Sanitation Division (TWUWS), and the UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (TWUWU).

Each Sector Department was responsible for the following:

  • prepare policies, guidelines, standards, handbooks and analytical tools relevant to the sector;

  • identify, codify and disseminate best practices and lessons of experience, and evaluate weaknesses;

  • provide advice to the Regions as needed;

  • monitor and track work in the sectors assigned in order to identify generic issues and identify, evaluate and influence trends and patterns;

  • perform surveys of experience and practice within the Bank and elsewhere, and develop innovative approaches;

  • participate in Bankwide efforts to assess skill requirements, and to upgrade skills through recruitment, training, orientation, seminars, newsletters, etc.;

  • represent the Bank to external communities of interest;

  • maintain an awareness of relevant external practices and viewpoints.

Four years later, in 1997, the thematic VicePresidencies were reorganized to strike a better balance between country focus and sectoral excellence. To facilitate sharing of expertise and knowledge, the Bank established networks that linked Bankwide communities of staff working in the same field across organizational boundaries and with external partners. The networks formed a virtual overlay on the existing Bank organization, and were intended to link staff working in the same sectors throughout the Bank, whether the staff was located in the Regions, in the Central VicePresidencies' Sector Departments, or other VicePresidencies.

Each of the three thematic Central VicePresidencies was transformed into the central units, or anchors, of each network and consisted of the existing sector departments. On a Bankwide basis, sector specialists were grouped into regional sector units or into central sector departments which worked with country departments in a matrix relationship. Staff from the central sector departments could become part of the regional operational teams when their sectoral expertise was required.

The work programs of Network staff focused on:

  • global knowledge - putting the best development knowledge in the hands of Bank task teams; ensuring that the knowledge base was accessible to external clients; and contributing to the growth of the knowledge base;

  • enhanced skills - developing and providing content to training courses; establishing professional and technical standards for professional development;

  • shared strategies - assisting regional and central units to develop a common sector agenda, and ensuring that skills are effectively deployed across the entire network. Network leadership assumed responsibility for global programs, sector strategy development and evaluation, strategic partnerships, and learning and dissemination;

  • best teams and best practices - improving the Bank's flexibility and mobility by building stronger task teams and delivering higher quality products;

  • institutional initiatives - providing substantial support for new Bankwide initiatives, such as Social Development, Rural Development, Financial Sector, Anticorruption, Human Resources,and Knowledge Partnerships.

The result of the 1997 restructuring was four networks: the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network (ESSD); the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPD); the Human Development Network (HDN); and the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PRM). The Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU) retained its name and component parts and was situated within the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPSI).

In 1999, the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network became the Private Sector Development and Infrastructure (PSI) Network. The Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department remained in the newly named network but on July 1, 2001, reorganization combined the water and energy functions to form the Energy and Water Department (EWD). This Department remained intact through the network's renaming and reorganization of 2003 when it became the Infrastructure Network (INF). However, in 2006 or 2007, the energy and water functions were combined with transport to form the Energy, Transport and Water Department (EWT) and this Department was moved to the Sustainable Development Network (SDN).

On January 1, 2007, water and energy functions were combined with the transport functions to form the Energy, Transport and Water Department (EWT) and this Department was moved to the Sustainable Development Network (SDN). Then, on September 17, 2010, restructuring placed the water function within the Transport, Water, and Information and Communications Technologies Department. The Department remained in the Sustainable Development Network.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Records were transferred directly from sector units to the Archives using approved records retention and disposition schedules.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of a diverse group of records that reflect the various activities of the water function in the World Bank. The fonds includes: internal and external correspondence, including letters, memoranda, and telexes; project files; sector support and research files; conference and workshop materials; and departmental publications.

Records in this fonds generally relate to projects managed or supported by the Transportation, Water and Telecommunications Department (TWT, 19791983), the Water Supply and Urban Development Department (WUD, 19831987) and the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department (IUD, 19871991). Projectrelated records include project documentation and reports, Country Monitoring Evaluations (CMEs), agreements, terms of reference, progress reports, budgets, personnel management, country information and research materials, and unofficial liaison records with outside agencies. Project topics include handpump development and testing, sewerage, landfill design, sanitation, solid waste private options and demonstration projects. Projectrelated records are generally organized by country.

Many of the projectrelated records are related to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, a special cooperative program created in 1978 managed by the World Bank. This Programme intended to develop, field test, and demonstrate the effectiveness of lowcost approaches to the provision of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation. The fonds contains donor files on countries and aid agencies that contributed to the Water and Sanitation Program. These records include: correspondence with donors; funding negotiations and agreements; project descriptions and budgets; progress reports; and backtooffice and meeting reports. Records relating to the UNDP - World Bank's cooperation with other multilateral organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are included.

The fonds also includes the correspondence of John M. Kalbermatten, Adviser for the Water and Wastes Sector in the Public Utilities Department and the Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department (EWT), from 19731979. Records include consultant reports, activity summaries and reports, progress reports, budgets and administrative correspondence.

Records also relate to projects of the Office of the Training Coordinator of the Water Supply and Urban Development Department (WUD). These records primarily concern the Information and Training program, a UNDPWorld Bank project aimed at preparing and disseminating information and training material on low cost technologies. Records include a chronology, correspondence, consultants' terms of reference, backtooffice reports, training materials and related preparatory materials, field testing materials, drafts of the Training Module Field Test and Review Report of 1984, a user participation package and a Project Preparation Handbook. Also included is correspondence and reports related to the Water Supply and Urban Development Department's (WUD) cooperation with the Economic Development Institute (EDI) in the production of water and sanitationrelated conferences, workshops, and training modules; a small number of other records distributed by EDI, such as planning and evaluation reports, are also included. The fonds also includes a small number of records that relate to conferences organized and attended by water sector staff.

Records also relate to participation in and contribution to external programs and groups. Included are records from the Steering Committee for the United Nations International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (IDWSS). These records include material such as agendas, minutes, and progress reports from meetings between 1981 and 1985 as well as records related to the promotion and support for women's participation in the initiative. Reports submitted by the World Bank to the Committee are also included. The fonds also includes files related to the Urban Poverty Task Group, a project overseen by the Urban Projects Department that began in 1975 with the objective of designing new policies, methods and projects to alleviate urban poverty. Records primarily include correspondence related to the Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department's (EWT) contributions to the water supply and waste water aspects of the Task Group's work.

The fonds also includes eleven volumes issued between 1980 and 1984 by the Transportation, Water and Telecommunications Department (TWT) and the Water Supply and Urban Development Department (WUD) regarding a research project undertaken in 1976 by the World Bank that examined water supply and sanitation in developing countries. Records include published volumes, drafts, final reports, notes, and internal memoranda.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The following arrangment is provisional. Records are arranged in four series:

  • Records related to project management and support

  • Records related to the United Nations Development Programme - World Bank Water and Sanitation Program

  • Records related to United Nations International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (IDWS)

  • Records related to the Office of the Training Coordinator

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

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Finding aids

While a finding aid specific for the records of this fonds does not exist, researchers who areinterested in operational projects (loans, credits, grants, and trust funds) within the energy sector are encouraged to reference the Projects and Operations Database on-line. The Projects and Operations Database search can be narrowed to include only those projects within the energy sector, and contains some final reports specific to each project. Should researchers wish to access the archival records related to these projects, cite the Project ID number when making a request.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See various Regional Vice Presidency fonds for records related to water development Technical Assistance units located in Regional Technical Departments. Records relate to region- and country- specific sector studies and planning, operational support, staff training, and the provision of advice and materials to Bank staff, clients, and donors.

  • See Records of the Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_90).

  • See Records of the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA103).

  • See Records of the Senior Vice President of Operations -- Transportation, telecommunication, water, and urban development (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_106-01).The departments described in this subfonds were assigned sub-group or series classification numbers from the Non-Regional Information Center (NRIC) from the Bank's centralized file unit. The departments often supported more than one sector at a time and this is reflected by folders that contain records of more than one sector. As a result, the records of these departments have been placed in Records of the Senior Vice President of Operations (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_106) fonds, whom the departments reported to, rather than separated and dispersed into their respective sector fonds.

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Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

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Dates of creation revision deletion

10 February 2012




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