From April 16 until April 30 a team from Dutch Water Authorities visited Peru for the Blue Deal. This was the second work visit since the corona pandemic.
The team spoke with its local partners, the water boards of Piura and Tumbes. Together they analysed the progress of their collaboration. The team also looked into the challenges of water scarcity and the distribution of the available water and where extra support from Dutch experts is needed. Another topic was the planning for the rest of the year and the second phase of the Blue Deal programme, which will last from 2023 until 2030.
Water scarcity and flooding
The work visit therefore consisted of a lot of meetings and discussions, for example with the National Water Authority and with users of the water and stakeholders. Field visits to several sites provided insight into the local situation. In both Piura and Tumbes the problem is pretty much identical: water scarcity during part of the year and danger of flooding during the rainy season. The work visit also showed that the quality of the surface water needs to be improved through waste water treatment plants.
The work visit strengthened the bonds between Dutch Water Authorities and the local partners and the perspectives for future collaboration have been broadened. The partnership aims to send in Dutch experts to Peru for several times in the coming years to establish a strong work relationship that helps to improve the water management in Peru. In between these work visits there will also be online meetings to exchange knowledge.
In November 2021 the Dutch team was finally able to meet their colleagues from the Blue Deal partnership in South Africa again. They visited the Crocodile River Project. The project is now ready to start again.
Because of COVID-19 the project collaboration went on only via digital meetings. And few will deny, this was sometimes quite a challenge. Due to this, the project came to a halt. Fortunately, in November 2021 it was possible for the team to meet each other live again, which was very inspiring. Now the project is back on track.
Buhle Shongwe, technician Water Demand & Conservation: “We want to grab each and every opportunity, so we’re excited to be working once again with you.”
A delegation of Colombian directors from the water sector visited the Netherlands from May 8 until May 15. The visit was part of the Blue Deal program InspirAgua.
Within InspirAgua Dutch water authorities are working together with their Colombian partners. They do this through inspiration and sharing knowledge and experiences with each other, for example on the issue of participative monitoring. This cooperation ensures a further professionalization of water management in both the Netherlands and Colombia. The main goal: better water management and cleaner water for millions of people in Colombia by 2030.
The visit of Colombian directors from the water sector to the Netherlands underlines the good cooperation within InspirAgua. The delegation was introduced to tasks in water management in the Netherlands. Including water storage, room for the river and the restoration of ecological values. In addition, the directors spoke to representatives of Dutch Water Authorities, various ministries and the Colombian embassy in the Netherlands.
Mutual learning and inspiration
Erik de Ridder, highest board member of the water authority De Dommel and administratively responsible for the InspirAgua programme, is pleased with the visit: “It is important and good to welcome a large delegation of Colombian directors involved in InspirAgua to the Netherlands. In this way they gain even better insight into the work we do within the program. We learn from them and they learn from us. That works best if you can view the assignments together on location. The visit is a confirmation of the constructive and fruitful cooperation between Colombia and the Netherlands and is a good basis for the follow-up.”
Creating joint added value
Luzette Kroon, board member of Dutch Water Authorities and administratively responsible for the Blue Deal, clearly sees the added value of the collaboration within InspirAgua: “We have to adapt spatial planning in the Netherlands to climate change. We can learn a lot from the way Colombia really does that together with its inhabitants.”
Foreign water managers and interested parties can now be inspired remotely by Dutch regional water management. Nine films of innovative water projects show how the Dutch work on safe, clean and sufficient water. The films offer a solution for international delegations who are unable to travel due to the corona pandemic, but who are seeing the water problem increasing in their country.
At the end of November 2021, the Dutch water experts from Dutch Water Authorities paid a visit to their Blue Deal partner in Ghana. During the multi-day working visit, the Dutch Delta Programme was on the agenda as a source of inspiration for Ghana.
The Ghanaian partners are looking for more structure, more integrality, better frameworks and better long-term solutions. The Delta Programme offers a long-term vision and scenario planning for climate change and socio-economic growth. The Blue Deal partners are exploring what a similar approach could mean for Ghana and how it could be linked to the Inegrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) plan.
The partners also paid a working visit to the north of Ghana to improve the water management of the Vea Dam and the Tono Dam. Because sand washes back into the waterways and reservoirs, the water and soil quality worsens. Because the water is not clean, residents are forced to get their water elsewhere. The partners are therefore committed to improving the water quality and the quality of life for residents, among other things.
What can the Dutch learn from international cooperation abroad? Several water experts answered this question from different perspectives during a session at the National Delta Congress on 4th November.
For example, the Blue Deal partners in South Africa are working on a business case to turn a problem into a business opportunity for the local community. Professor Ellen Minkman (TU Delft) shared her findings about learning abroad by water authorities. Conclusion: reciprocity must be part of international cooperation.
The Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) are open to learn from other countries and partners and want to ensure that knowledge from abroad is applied in the Netherlands. This is why Blue Deal’s water experts will discuss the lessons they have learned from abroad for Dutch water management at the Delta congress (11th November) and Water Innovation festival (2nd December).
Delta congres on 4th November Professor Ms Ellen Minkema and the partnerships of South Africa and Colombia are represented at the Delta congress. The professor tells us more about her research into learning from abroad. You can register for the Delta Congress here.
Water innovation festival on 2nd December During the Water Innovation Festival on 2nd December the Blue Deal will provide insight into which lessons you learn and how you can apply them. Dutch Water Authorities organises this annual festival together with the Waterschapsbank, Het Waterschapshuis and STOWA in DeFabrique in Utrecht. You can register for the Water Innovation Festival here.
After six years (two terms on the board), Hein Pieper stepped down as vice-chairman of the Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) past 8th October.
He also temporarily transfers the International portfolio to the president: Mr Rogier van der Sande. His replacement will be announced in the DWA board in April 2022. Hein played a major role in the establishment of the Blue Deal and was chairman of the Blue Deal Steering Committee in recent years. Fortunately, Hein is not saying goodbye to the water authority world yet, he remains dijkgraaf (water major) of the Rijn en IJssel water authority.
Wetskills organises worldwide challenges in which participants from different countries, backgrounds and experiences solve water issues from the sector. The Blue Deal proposes one of the cases: How can the Blue Deal programme institutionalise, innovate and optimise ‘learning’? The team with participants from the Palestinian territories, Romania and South Africa, among others, will come up with a creative solution to this question during the final on 4th November at the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW). Sign up here