Title: Water and Sanitation Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Palestinian territories
Lead executing agency: Palestinian Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development
Overall term: 2006 to 2017
The situation in the Palestinian water sector is determined to a large extent by the Israeli policy of occupation. Israel’s broad control over the available water resources undermines the Palestinians’ capacity to guarantee their water supply and impairs further development of the water sector in the Palestinian territories. Arduous coordination and agreement processes with the Israeli authorities are partially responsible for the lack of environmentally compatible sanitation systems in many localities, creating health risks and adversely impacting the environment.
These conditions are exacerbated by a marked need for capacity building and better management skills among the Palestinian water institutions. One vital task is to establish an effective means of managing and regulating the water sector. Clarifying the specific mandates and scopes of responsibility of the various institutions involved and improving their focus on customer needs will give municipal and community service providers the technical and administrative skills they require to ensure a secure drinking water supply for the Palestinian people and thereby also establish financially sustainable work practices.
This necessary realignment of the institutional and legal framework in the water sector is currently part of a comprehensive plan of reform. One of the measures planned is to divide up the institutional functions of the Palestinian public water administration to create the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) with a ministerial role, and a separate Regulatory Water Council to act as independent regulator. These reforms are currently establishing the foundations for further improving the water supply and wastewater disposal sectors.
The capacity of institutions to manage, regulate and provide services in the water sector has improved. Water supply and sanitation services in the Palestinian territories are fully functional and meet customer needs. Poor and marginalised segments of the population also benefit from these services.
The project has been supporting the Palestinian partners in implementing these reforms since 2006.
In the current phase (2013 to 2017), project work is focusing on two priority areas:
- Providing support in establishing a regulator to improve the performance capacity of service providers in the water supply and wastewater disposal sectors
- Further improving management skills among a number of providers, primarily by supporting providers in applying the new charges guidelines and by developing plans and capacities to help guarantee secure and reliable supply and disposal systems.
The project also supports the Palestinian Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA) in implementing its gender strategy for the water sector.
Results achieved so far
By providing advice on introducing a regulatory authority, the project has contributed at national level to sustainably improving water supply and wastewater disposal services in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian water authorities are now better able to negotiate the approval of investment projects and allocation of drinking water with Israeli authorities.
The Palestinian Government has adopted new strategies for promoting gender equality and encouraging women to take up management positions in the water sector, and is implementing these across the territories.
Four of the major Palestinian water providers in the West Bank are working more efficiently and improving their delivery of reliable, secure and affordable water and wastewater services. They currently serve around 750,000 Palestinians. The introduction of adjusted schedules of water and sewerage charges enables providers to manage the system in a way that is economically sustainable and to guarantee secure services in future as well.