Ensuring sustainable water and sanitation services in peri-urban areas (PERIAGUA III)

Project description

Title: PERIAGUA - Programme for Sustainable Drinking Water and Sanitation Services in Peri-urban Areas
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bolivia
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

image 1 - PERIAGUA Bolivia


Many people in Bolivia lack access to adequate drinking water and sanitation services. Although around 86 per cent of the population has access to the water supply system at home, only 60 per cent is connected to a sewer system. Rural regions have significantly poorer coverage than cities. The access rates are below the average for Latin America.

The majority of wastewater treatment plants are not operated properly and can therefore only effectively treat approximately 30 per cent of the wastewater. As a result, a large proportion of the wastewater contaminates the country’s water sources. Solid waste also presents a contamination risk. Climate change is additionally exacerbating the situation and impacting the quality and availability of water.

The local governments’ water utilities are not sufficiently able to take action. Employees are neither professionally trained nor formally certified. These factors are reflected in the low quality of the services.

Since 2013, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been running the project on Sustainable Drinking Water and Sanitation Services in Peri-urban Areas (PERIAGUA) to help solve these complex problems. In this third phase, the project is continuing the work in line with national policy.


The overall conditions for securing the drinking water supply and for adaptation to climate change have been improved in selected cities.

image 2 - PERIAGUA Bolivia


Based on the experiences from the previous phases, the project contributes to improving drinking water and sanitation services through practical experience and proven approaches. The measures focus on broad-based impact and scaling effects. In line with the national strategies, PERIAGUA promotes better national and regional management models, aligning itself to the following courses of action:

1. Wastewater management and sanitation services: Creating improved conditions for protecting drinking water resources from contamination

2. Drinking water security: Strengthening the relevant institutions’ ability to take action to improve drinking water security

3. Vocational training and capacity development: Expanding training opportunities in the sector

image 3 - PERIAGUA Bolivia


During the previous phases, Bolivian institutions were able to improve their management and specialist skills. For example, 67 out of 70 regulated water utilities  developed contingency plans to improve their response to potential crises due to water scarcity.

The National Service for the Sustainability of Basic Sanitation Services (SENASBA) has created eight technical guidelines to improve the water utilities’ performance capacity.

More than 950 experts received further training, including employees of 25 utility companies as well as national institutions such as the responsible Ministry of Environment and Water and the regulatory authority.

Access to drinking water and sanitation services has been improved in the project regions, with more than 10,000 families being connected to the sewage network. Operation and maintenance of sewage networks has been optimised in the project regions and the rehabilitation of three wastewater treatment plants supported.

Together with the World Bank, a campaign was conducted for managing faecal sludge from sanitation facilities at household level, which reached almost a million people.

The project has gathered information on the status of water sources that provide drinking water for more than 2.3 million residents in the project regions. The results of the studies enable the state partner institutions to take more effective measures to protect the sources.

The responsible institutions have introduced statutes on gender equality. For example, in the water cooperative for Santa Cruz, more than 38 per cent of the executive managers are now women.