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Published: 08.16.2023

Mike Webster Appointed New Program Manager of 2030 WRG

With global water security taking on increased urgency in recent years, the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) remains at the forefront of bridging the gap between water demand and supply. Originally incubated at the World Economic Forum and later nurtured at the International Finance Corporation, 2030 WRG has now evolved into a multi-donor trust fund steered by the World Bank Water Global Practice. It stands out as a unique collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, with the shared goal of bolstering water security through financing and innovation.

To lead the way in alignment with the partnership’s new strategic framework (summary available), Michael “Mike” John Webster was appointed as the new Program Manager for 2030 WRG on August 1st 2023. This comes at a pivotal moment when the World Bank is amplifying its collaboration with the private sector to ensure water security, sanitation, and swift advancement toward the water SDGs. Mike is spearheading 2030 WRG’s mission, working closely with the Governing Council and Steering Board toward championing high-level global water advocacy and facilitating country-level multi-stakeholder water security interventions to deliver on scale and with impact.

Prior to joining 2030 WRG, Mike was Executive Director of the Water and Sanitation Directorate in the City of Cape Town. In this position, he headed the water and wastewater utility responsible for the full water cycle, from “source to tap” and back to the environment. The utility serves the 4.7 million people of Cape Town through 660,000 water and sewer connections and 20,000 km of pipeline. It has 5,100 staff, an annual operating budget of over USD 500 million, and an annual capital budget of USD 200 million.

Over the past five years, Mike led the City’s response to the 2015-17 drought that almost resulted in “day zero,” by implementing a strategy to achieve water security for the future. Under Mike’s leadership, the City implemented a series of reforms in sanitation, financial sustainability, and customer services; and created a modern fit-for-purpose water utility. This turn-around culminated in Cape Town becoming the first city in Africa to be recognized as a member of the Leading Utilities of the World network, the gold standard of water and wastewater utility performance.

Prior to joining the City, Mike worked for the World Bank for 16 years as a water and sanitation specialist based in Washington, DC. He joined the Bank through the Young Professionals Program and worked in operations in South Asia, Europe and Central Asia, and Africa with field assignments in India and Zimbabwe. Mike was Task Team Leader for 23 investment operations in water supply, sanitation, solid waste management, municipal services, rural infrastructure, environmental protection, and urban upgrading, as well as a number of analytical and advisory services.

Mike graduated as a civil engineer from the University of Cape Town and went on to do an MSc in engineering at Loughborough University and a Master in Public Policy at Princeton University.