Sustainable water and sanitation services in peri-urban areas

Project description

Title: Sustainable water and sanitation services in peri-urban areas (PERIAGUA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bolivia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment and Water (MMAyA)
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

The project is supporting the Bolivian Government in developing water and sanitation services for all of the country’s inhabitants by 2025.  Photograph: GIZ/Romeo Marta


Many people in Bolivia still lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation services. Although around 84 per cent of the population is connected to a water supply system, only 57 per cent can avail themselves of sanitation services. There is a vast gap in coverage between urban areas at 60 per cent and rural areas at only 40 per cent. These figures are below the average for Latin America.

The Bolivian Government has set ambitious goals for reform that it aims to reach by 2025. These include providing universal access to drinking water and making significant improvements to sanitation services. Additionally, the Government plans to strengthen national and regional institutions as well as to create a more enabling political and legal framework. In view of the negative impacts of climate change, it also aims to improve water resources management.


The quality of drinking water and sanitation services in the Santa Cruz and Tarija regions has improved, resulting in a better quality of life for the population.

Training courses have allowed water service companies to improve their operative management practices. Photograph: GIZ/Romeo Marta


From 2013 to 2016, GIZ provided support to the Bolivian Government through a drinking water and sanitation programme for peri-urban areas. The current project is building on the achievements of this past programme and expanding the scope of activities.

With financing from the Sustainable Water Fund of the Dutch Government, the project focuses on four areas.

  • Sector development: It is assisting the Bolivian Ministry of Environment and Water and the Vice Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in developing the country’s political and legal framework. In addition, it is promoting cooperation between the water ministry, the regulatory authority, and the technical support authority for water utilities.
  • Access to wastewater systems: The project team is advising the government, municipalities and water utilities on how to increase the number of household connections to new sanitation systems.
  • Sustainable supply services: The project is providing support to 23 water supply enterprises in the metropolitan area of Santa Cruz and in three municipalities in the Tarija region to help them improve the services they provide.
  • Integrated water resources management: The project is advising municipalities and regional governments on managing their water resources. Since climate change has an impact on the availability of water, the project places particular importance on protecting groundwater supplies.

The project is advising water utilities and other partner organisations on devising appropriate gender policies with a view to increasing the number of women they employ.


The current project is building on the achievements of its forerunner. Previously, the project advised the Ministry of Environment and Water on working out and publicising strategies and technical standards, for instance relating to the quality of drinking water, efficient handling of water, and guidelines on socio-political environment management for water services. These strategies and technical standards are now available for application.

A municipality in Tarija adopted a local law aimed at promoting efficient water use, which has led to a decrease in water consumption by over 10 per cent.

In Santa Cruz, three water utilities that were advised by the project have introduced low-cost innovations such as bulk water meters and optimised their business procedures. Ten water suppliers have improved their processes for water quality control, resulting in the accreditation of quality parameters in four laboratories in Santa Cruz and Tarija.

The project has also successfully drawn up specimen statutes for water supply enterprises organised as cooperatives, providing for equal representation of men and women within management.

Further information