Inter-municipal water management along the Dniester River

Project description

Title: Inter-municipal water management along the Dniester
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Republic of Moldova
Lead executing agency: Bureau of Reintegration at the State Chancellery of Moldova
Overall term: 2016 to 2021



The Dniester River and its tributaries constitute the major drinking water reservoir of the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria, the region that broke away from the rest of the country in the early 1990s. They are the main source of water supply for agriculture, industry and the two million inhabitants of the eastern part of Moldova, including Transnistria. The wastewater discharged from the dilapidated and inefficient infrastructure on both banks contaminates the river, the self-cleaning capacity of which is weakening due to the structure of the riverbed and the poor oxygen balance.

Improving the water supply and sanitation (WSS) infrastructure would serve to protect water resources and soils along the Dniester in the long term. However, it requires not only enormous investments but also cooperation between the communities, towns and cities under Moldovan and Transnistrian administration. In particular, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Meseberg initiative of the German Government and diverse EU activities have sought for many years to mediate and develop confidence-building measures with a view to resolving this conflict.

The lack of financial resources and constructive inter-municipal cooperation coupled with the inadequate capacity of the WSS operators to deliver efficient, citizen-oriented services are obstacles to improving the relevant infrastructure. The Moldovan Government considers the political, social and health impacts of the poor water supply and sanitation services in the region as a priority development challenge. This view is shared by the development partners in the country and is reflected in the substantial assistance accorded by the donors in the WSS sector.


The institutional framework for inter-municipal management of water resources has improved.

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The project was developed on the basis of a feasibility study conducted by GIZ covering 24 urban and rural settlements with some 76,000 inhabitants on both banks of the central Dniester basin in Moldova.

Synergy is created through the project activities and the confidence-building process between the Government of Moldova and Transnistrian authorities, facilitated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The project also supports Moldovan institutions in meeting their commitments to improve the protection of biodiversity in the Dniester and Black Sea areas, and in tackling the relevant environmental measures at regional and local level.

The project assists with the long-term realisation of a change process in the WSS system in the region, by means of participatory development, good governance and dialogue-promoting measures, on the basis of enhanced inter-municipal institutional frameworks, It is aligned to the requirements of the National Strategy for Water Supply and Sanitation (2014-2028), which is the fundamental policy document for the sector.

The project operates in three areas:

  1. Confidence-building through inter-municipal cooperation in water resource management. This is to be achieved by means of a better understanding of potentials and expectations of all stakeholders, as well as of the current obstacles and challenges facing cooperation. To this end, the project uses methodological tools, consultations and dialogues designed to identify strengths and potentials for building trust. It also helps to establish joint monitoring systems for the implementation of inter-municipal action plans and environmental protection activities.
  2. Strengthening the capacities of public utilities for improved water supply and sanitation services. This is to be achieved through a capacity development programme for the Local Public Administrations (LPAs). The WSS operators need to upgrade their skills in order to perform proper management, operation and maintenance, especially when new technologies for wastewater treatment are introduced. The balanced participation of the two sides and the various ethnic groups to capacity development process will ensure the transparency of taken decisions and joint ownership of the development process.
  3. Developing investment packages for improved water supply and sanitation services. The project is helping to devise a system to prioritise in a binding manner investments and other measures geared to the technical and institutional development of financially sustainable water supply services and adequate wastewater management in the project area. By presenting investment needs and development prospects clearly, the project also aims to contribute to the dialogue with potential development partners in the WSS sector.


Environment and trust-building. An action plan has been developed for the joint environmental working group. For the first time since 1992, Transnistria also took part in training for staff from local water companies.

Joint planning. In six workshops with 72 participants, 16 strategies for developing the local water sector were developed and adopted by the municipalities.

Developing the skills and capacity of the WSS operators. Business inventories were carried out at three of the operators. Five three-day training courses were held for operating staff.

Investment planning. The joint steering committee has prioritised 18 investment packages; 12 have been prepared. Implementation for an EU-funded project in Ustia has been planned. Three direct measures for infrastructure (including pumps) were agreed on together.

Additional information

Additional information