From concept to reality – water sector reform in Peru

Programme description

Title: Programme for the modernisation and improvement of municipal water management (PROAGUA II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Peru
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento (MVCS)
Overall term: 2014 to 2019

Peru. Wastewater treatment plant in Chavin © GIZ / Mariela Maguiña

Water resources in Peru’s densely populated areas along the Pacific coast are scarce and contaminated. Industrial and domestic wastewater flows untreated into rivers. This state of affairs is exacerbated by the effects of climate change and surface water pollution.

The government is working to change this situation. Peru is one of a number of countries that met the Millennium Development Goal on safe drinking water. However, sanitation remains a critical problem; the services provided currently only cover 73 per cent of the population.
In many regions, water utilities are too small, financial management is poor, water charges are too low and operations are often determined by political influence. This has a major detrimental impact on the quality of services.
The Modernisation Act adopted in 2013 to improve utility services provides for the structural reform of municipal water management. The Ministry wishes to implement the reforms swiftly and to enable water utilities to provide high-quality services as soon as possible.

Water utilities in Peru provide better drinking water supply and sanitation services.

The project supports the responsible officers in the relevant ministries and authorities as they work to implement the Modernisation Act in the water sector at both national and regional level. Project experts advise the newly established authority for the administration of water and wastewater services to familiarise its employees with their tasks and enable them to perform their duties competently.

In addition, with support from the consulting firm Akut, project staff work directly with four water utilities (Moquegua, Ilo, Tarapoto, Moyobamba). These companies are participating in the new reform programme and aim to achieve a substantial improvement in their services under the reform plan. These activities are cofinanced by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO through its Economic Cooperation and Development Division.

There is increasing awareness among water companies that wastewater is a resource. To use it as such, they need the relevant technical, commercial and normative know-how. The project is providing this knowledge by incorporating it into their operations.

A dual training system and a certification scheme for water and wastewater technicians have been developed with GIZ support. To ensure that water companies have qualified staff in the future, the new training courses and certification programmes are being introduced in vocational training institutes and the participating water companies. In this context, the project is cooperating with the training institutions SENATI and SENCICO as well as the water utility companies in Lima, Piura and Arequipa.

All Peruvians will benefit from improved services, especially those living in communities where water is supplied by companies advised by the project. The water companies have higher revenues, water consumption has been reduced, and it has been possible to connect 2,000 families to the water supply network. The companies are earning additional income by selling treated wastewater.

With the application of the new law on discharging industrial wastewater, companies are increasingly pre-treating their wastewater or paying fees for the discharge of slightly contaminated wastewater. As a result, water companies have been able to collect more than 8 million euros in additional charges.

The new vocational training courses benefit not only young adults throughout the country who wish to train as technicians in the water sector, but also experienced staff at utilities with no professional qualifications. The first 100 students have started their training in the two courses for water installation engineers and network technicians. At the same time, hundreds of technicians are preparing for the new certification in different water technology modules.

Peru. Checking the accuracy of water metres in Moyobamba © GIZ / Magnolia Pinedo


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