Water & sanitation

In many developing countries large parts of the population have no regular access to improved drinking water. This situation is all the more blatant in rural areas.

Drinking water supply and sanitation

Even though major progress has been made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for 2015, the challenges remain formidable. According to the latest report of the United Nations, in 2012, at least 11% of the world population – or 783 million people – still have no access to drinking water, and one-third of the world population – or 2.5 billion people – still lacks access to sanitary facilities. These global averages hide significant disparities between regions and countries as well as within countries. More than 40% of the inhabitants of our planet having no access to drinking water live in sub-Sahara Africa.

The Secretary-General of the UN, Ban-Ki Moon, said, "Our next step must be to target the most difficult to reach, the poorest and the most disadvantaged people across the world. The United Nations General Assembly has recognized drinking water and sanitation as human rights. That means we must ensure that every person has access. "

Thus, beyond the Millennium Development Goals set for 2015, joint efforts will be needed and significant resources must be invested to achieve new goals pertaining to universal access to drinking water and sanitation. To this end, it seems important to focus on both the efficient management of exiting infrastructure in order to maintain services and on putting in place new infrastructure.

Since more than a decade, the Belgian Development Cooperation intervenes actively in Morocco, Senegal and Vietnam, where water and sanitation are priority sectors of the bilateral development cooperation. In these three countries, a programme approach is put in place to strengthen the institutional framework, build infrastructure and develop partner capacities. Moreover, following national priorities, the transversal approach advocates an integrated water resources management approach that combines with climate change and environmental issues, agriculture, urban planning and drinking water supply and sanitation.

Moreover, more than one million people living in precarious situations in Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda are now supplied in a sustainable way through neighbourhood networks. These networks are set up by BTC and its partners with Belgian and third-party (EU, DFID and AFD) funds and constitute a model that can be copied to a larger scale in sub-Sahara Africa to supply water to densely-populated peri-urban areas.

In rural areas, the water projects set up by BTC in Niger and Mozambique supply drinking water to village populations from wells and boreholes equipped with hand pumps or from small drainage systems.

In all these projects BTC aims to ensure quality and sustainable water services through

  • Sound technical design of the installations;Good governance when planning and managing infrastructure;
  • Financing the exploitation and maintenance of installations with the revenue from water sales.
  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital eco-systems (Global Water Partnership, 2000).

The geographical scale of IWRM is the watershed, regardless of national or administrative borders crossed. IWRM fosters the emergence of institutions that ensure the necessary dialogue and arbitration between water managers and other actors in the watershed. It relies on technical tools (measurement networks, databases) needed to monitor the resources and on decision-making tools, in particular for planning actions in the watershed.

For the partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation, implementing IWRM principles is based on recent progress achieved with water policies, legislation and regulations, among other things.

In this context, BTC mainly intervenes with its partners in support of strengthening institutional roles and in putting management tools in place:

  • Vietnam:
    • support to the Ministry of the Environment to develop a national IWRM strategy and implement it in 7 pilot provinces;
    • development of climate change adaptation capacity in urban planning and water management in the provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Ha Tinh.
  • Senegal: strengthening the institutional framework and the provisions for improving and monitoring water quality.
  • Morocco: support to putting in place the water resources monitoring information system for three watershed agencies of Souss-Massa-Drâa, Loukkos and Moulouya.
  • Algeria: support to elaborating a water resources management plan for the Algiers coastal watershed.