Association of Water Boards starts international projects
On 22 March, World Water Day, development minister Bert Koenders will give the starting signal for the first three international water projects to be run by the Association of Water Boards. The projects are being launched in Nicaragua, South Africa and Hungary with the aim of ensuring better water management and greater access to clean drinking water and sanitation. They are being financed from the solidarity fund of the Nederlandse Waterschapsbank (NWB), the public sector bank that funds the water boards and other government agencies. With the NWB fund, the Dutch water boards may implement projects in the field of water and sanitation and put their knowledge and expertise at the disposal of other countries.
The project in Nicaragua aims for better management of the catchment area near the city of Matagalpa, and will provide 80,000 new drinking water connections, as well as sanitary facilities and wastewater treatment. In South Africa, officials from local water boards will receive training. In Hungary, the Dutch water boards will provide support in planning two catchment areas around Lakes Balaton and Velence.
These initiatives dovetail with Koenders’ development policy which aims for better water management and easier access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Access to clean drinking water and sanitation is one of the Millennium Development Goals to which the Netherlands has committed itself. With these initiatives, the NWB is showing its commitment to water and a better environment, not only in the Netherlands but in other countries too. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is delighted that in this way more and more funds are being released for international development.
World Water Day is held on 22 March every year to draw national and international attention to the need for sensible water management.