25 februari 2006
Dutch water company Vitens upgrades water supply in Yemen
The contract was signed this week in Yemen, during a visit of the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, Agnes van Ardenne. The Ministry, the third partner in this contract, targets at providing fifty million people worldwide with safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015.
Vitens is the Netherlands' largest water utility, and has been involved in similar projects in Mozambique. That is why the Dutch embassy in Sana'a asked Vitens to share its knowledge and experience with the personnel of the Ta'iz public water service.
Jan Hoffer, manager International, explains why the project in Ta'iz has become a part of Vitens' CSR-policy: "With our expertise we want to contribute to reaching the Millennium Development Goal concerning safe drinking water and sanitation. One of our experts will be stationed in Ta'iz for the next three years, every now and again assisted by our specialists in water purification, billing and collection, and human resources. The Ministry and Vitens will share these personnel costs."
The problem in Ta'iz is not only a lack of water, but also serious spilling. Jan Hoffer: "Somewhere along the line almost half of the ground water gets lost, probably through leakages and illegal tapping. W'll certainly try to find a way to use the available water more efficiently. As the region has a considerable amount of rain, we are also considering catching this precipitation. Furthermore, there's a possibility to use the effluent of the water purification plant, now completely wasted."
It's the first time ever the management of a Yemenite water company gets assistance from a foreign company. The experience might influence the Yemenite government's future choice whether privatising the public service or making it more independent. The partnership between Yemen, the Netherlands and Vitens involves 1.65 million euro, of which the Dutch government contributes 950,000 euro.