Institutional development of the water sector III - Addressing basic needs (closed)

Project description

Title: Institutional development of the water sector III - Addressing basic needs
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Yemen
Overall term: 2016 to 2020


With approximately 125 cubic metres of water available per capita and per year, Yemen is one of the most water-deprived countries in the world. The supply situation, which is already critical, has deteriorated dramatically due to the armed conflict and its escalation in March 2015. More than 21 million people are currently reliant on humanitarian aid. Nineteen million people have no adequate access to drinking water supply and sanitation. It is only possible to maintain drinking water supply services to a very restricted degree in larger cities, including the capital city Sana’a. This also compromises the supply to schools and other public institutions. Parts of the infrastructure have been destroyed and the electricity supply has largely failed. Drinking water pumps and sewage lift stations can only be operated with emergency power units.

The financial and personnel situation in water and sanitation companies has been weakened. They are less and less capable of securing the necessary staff and operating resources. The remaining professionals in the companies have difficulty safeguarding the necessary administrative procedures and planning and implementing measures to maintain and rehabilitate the ruined infrastructure. Overall, the municipal water and sanitation companies do not have the necessary material or personnel resources to overcome the crisis-related challenges facing the water sector.


The capacities of the municipal water and sewage companies as they face crisis-related challenges in the supply of drinking water and sanitation are strengthened.


The planned project activities can be divided into two fields of action:

  • planning guidelines to maintain the drinking water supply and sanitation and
  • demonstration measures to restore the drinking water supply and sanitation.

Measures which stabilise the drinking water supply and sanitation are planned, implemented and observed in a conflict-sensitive manner in selected water and sanitation companies depending on the security situation (do no harm approach).


  • It was possible to maintain operation of 12 of the most important municipal water and sanitation companies. This contributes to stabilising the water supply and sanitation of eight million people in Yemen, which is approximately 30% of the population.
  • An improved system for collecting water fees ensures that the sustainable operation of the water supply and sanitation is supported.
  • With the help of the project, the personnel responsible in the water and sanitation companies have surveyed the war-related damage, planned measures for technical support and developed investment plans for restoring the infrastructure.
  • Various pilot and demonstration projects are assessing urgent needs to establish how the water and sanitation infrastructure can be restored. Innovative approaches to strengthening resilience are also being tested: examples of these include the use of modern mobile devices to take consumption readings and charge fees, replacing diesel-operated generators with solar cells, collecting rainwater instead of using of tankers, replacing wasteful flush toilets with dry toilets and developing biogas plants and constructed wetlands for wastewater utilisation.
  • The quarterly collection of water and sanitation companies’ resilience-oriented performance indicators enables Yemeni decision-makers and the international donor community to monitoring water supply and sanitation without delay, meaning that the effectiveness of the aid measures can be reviewed.