17 maart 2007
Dutch Water Boards improve water management in three countries
The town of Matagalpa in the north of Nicaragua copes with a lack of clean drinking water. At times the water of the two small rivers in the vicinity are too polluted by industrial waste to serve as a source of potable water. Experts of two Dutch Water Boards will assist the council of Matagalpa and the local private water company in attacking a multitude of problems: purification of both industrial and household waste water, providing 80,000 water connections, constructing sewage treatment and some 10,000 sanitary provisions. The project will take about three years.
South-Africa, a country which considers safe drinking water as a human right, is currently in the process of decentralising water management. The so-called Catchment Management Agencies have a democratic structure, reflecting the needs of their constituency. Two Dutch Water Boards will assist their South-African colleagues in involving the local population in the process of water management. They will train board members and will develop a train-the-trainers programme.
The third international project concerns the water management of two lakes in Hungary, the Balaton and the Velence lake. Both lakes are not only a tourist attraction, but also important for the provision of drinking water. Water management in Hungary, however, is quite fragmented. The responsible parties will have to cooperate in developing an integrated approach in order to become eligible for funding by the European Union. Two Dutch Water Boards with ample experience in public participation will assist them in generating this integrated approach.
Rob Uijterlinde: "These projects are an expression of the corporate social responsibility of the Water Boards. As public services they cannot plainly invest the money of Dutch tax payers in international projects. Funding will partly come from the solidarity fund of the Nederlandse Waterschapsbank, which has been erected earlier this year. This enables the Water Boards to attract other funds."
The Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation will pay half of the costs of projects, meant to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by the year 2015. The Dutch government aims at giving 50 million more people access to safe drinking water by 2015.
P+ webtip: Association of Water Boards