During today’s celebration of World Water Day 2017 in The Hague, a unique cooperation by the ten Dutch water companies was launched. With this new WaterWorX programme, these companies are aiming to provide ten million people worldwide with sustainable access to clean drinking water between 2017 and 2030, in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
WaterWorX is the response of Vitens, Evides Waterbedrijf, WML, Watercompany Groningen, PWN, Brabant Water, Dunea, Oasen, WMD, and Waternet to resigning Minister Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation’s pledge to make a significant contribution to the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal. Ploumen aims to provide thirty million people with sustainable and safe access to drinking water and 50 million people with sustainable access to sanitation facilities by 2030. With the WaterWorX programme, the Dutch water companies and their partner companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are entering into a public-private partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The programme will consist of three stages. For the first stage, a budget of € 54 million has been made available (55% co-funding by Foreign affairs, 45% provided by the Dutch and local water companies).
WaterWorX was officially launched during the celebration of Word Water Day 2017 by Reina Buijs, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This cooperation makes the Netherlands unique,” she stated. “Working together is necessary for achieving progress. And progress is what we do need right now.” Population growth, urbanisation, and changes in consumption patterns, combined with climate change and damage to the environment, are putting a massive amount of pressure on the global (drinking) water system. In spite of significant improvements from 2000 onwards, an estimated 663 million people worldwide still do not have access to an improved water source or use untreated surface water. Moreover, 2.4 billion people worldwide do not have access to sanitary facilities. During the launch the CEO’s of the ten Dutch water companies signed a symbolic contract to kick off the programma WaterWorX.
Join forces for sustainable water facilities
By way of so-called Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs), in which Dutch water companies share their knowledge and expertise with local water companies, WaterWorX is a long-term effort geared towards reducing NRW and improving the financial and administrative systems. If necessary, the business of the water company will be adjusted to the changing climate and capacity will be developed to provide the poorest with water. Being a partner of WaterWorX, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides strong support in the field of local policy, laws and regulations in which local water companies are encouraged to function properly. This will increase their appeal to external investment parties and will make them less dependent for help.