Ensuring the supply of water and sanitation

Project description

Title: Institutional Development of the Water Sector IV – Addressing Basic Needs
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Yemen
Overall term: 2020 to 2023


Yemen is one of the most water-deprived countries in the world. The already critical water situation has been dramatically worsened by the war that has been raging in the country since March 2015. The damage to infrastructure is extensive, and an electricity supply is virtually non-existent. As a result, in many cases drinking water pumps and sewage facilities can be operated only by means of emergency power units.

In 2020, more than 20.5 million Yemenites were dependent on humanitarian aid, while 17.8 million had no access to adequate supplies of drinking water or sanitation.

Consequently, the municipal water and sewage companies are experiencing major difficulties in supplying the population and are on the brink of collapse. They are underfunded and understaffed and unable to carry out crucial administrative processes. Moreover, they have insufficient material and human resources to maintain and rehabilitate destroyed infrastructure. To overcome these crisis-related challenges, the water and sewage companies need support from humanitarian organisations and development partners.

At the same time, an even greater water crisis is threatening Yemen: when the war broke out, most sustainable water resource management measures were suspended – in favour of emergency measures to supply the basic needs of the population. Yet the increasing scarcity of water is likely to create greater conflict over resources, which could exacerbate the existing armed conflict. To counteract this, there is an urgent need to complement emergency relief with more sustainable crisis management and resilience-building measures.


The water and sewage companies in Yemen maintain water supplies and sanitation for the population – despite the prevailing war.


To achieve its goals, the project is fostering the resilience and skills of the stakeholders in the water supply and sanitation sector, in three fields of action:

Use of planning and monitoring instruments:
The project is supporting the Yemeni water authorities by conducting a damage survey of the current state of the water and wastewater systems. Based on the results, investment and technical support plans will be developed to rehabilitate and maintain water supplies and sanitation. This will cover all the larger towns in Yemen and a total of some nine million inhabitants. In addition, the project is supporting the water and sewage companies’ efforts to collect, revise and extend the crisis-related performance indicators. The companies are also receiving support for updating and using the databases via which these indicators are monitored.

Increasing the resilience of the water and sewage companies:
To reduce the companies’ vulnerability to crises, the project is undertaking various measures to improve their revenues, performance and operating efficiency. In addition, the project is supporting their women’s departments in efforts to set up and implement a gender-sensitive action plan. Among other things, this is aimed at strengthening the role of working women.

Developing the skills of local players:
The aim here is to help the stakeholders plan and implement crisis-oriented drinking water and sanitary measures more efficiently. Examples of activities include replacing diesel-powered generators with solar cells, collecting rainwater instead of using tanker lorries, replacing flush toilets with water-saving dry toilets, and creating biogas plants and constructed wetlands to treat and use wastewater. For this purpose, guidelines and training modules are being developed, demonstration measures carried out, project proposals developed and training courses implemented.

Last update: April 2021


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