Water management

More and more countries are facing problems with water. Climate change is leading to more extreme periods of drought, and to more flooding. The Dutch government therefore wants to contribute to good water management worldwide.

Water management in Dutch development cooperation policy

Water is a theme that not only affects the Netherlands. Every year between 100 and 200 million people are the victims of flooding. By 2030 around 40% of the world’s population may be affected by a shortage of clean drinking water. Failing water management threatens the stability and safety of entire societies. Population growth and increased pollution are leading to scarcity. The poorest people are hit hardest.

The Netherlands is renowned for its battle with the sea and its management of the water in its rivers. Dutch engineers and hydraulic engineers are world famous for the work they do to keep the Netherlands safe. For example the storm surge barriers and the Sand Motor beach nourishment project off the coast of South Holland.

How is the Netherlands contributing to water management worldwide?

Water management is one of the priority themes of Dutch development cooperation policy. Dutch development programmes focus on 3 goals:

  1. safe, clean drinking water, improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation for 25 million people;
  2. water management, improved river basin management and safe deltas;
  3. raising water productivity in farming by 25%.

The Netherlands is also focusing on transborder water management in 7 international river basins in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Its aim is to promote cooperation between upstream and downstream countries. To achieve it, the Dutch government works together with international financial institutions like the World Bank, for example, in implementing the following projects:

  • In Senegal measures have been taken to ensure more efficient use of water. For example, by large-scale removal of water hyacinths from irrigation systems in the Senegal River basin. In combination with rehabilitation of irrigation systems and training of local farmers, this has led to substantially improved agricultural yields. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked together in this project with the World Bank, the Rivierenland Water Authority and the Senegal River Basin Authority (OMVS).
  • In Bangladesh 38 million people have been given information on the importance of good hygiene through a project funded by the Netherlands and run by the NGO BRAC. Thank to this project 25 million people now have access to decent sanitation.