Blue Deal Regional Meeting Africa

From 7 to 10 July, a Regional Meeting will take place in Kenya, gathering Blue Deal partnerships from 7 countries. This event serves as a follow-up to the Blue Deal Congress held in Amsterdam in June 2023.

A workshop during the Blue Deal Congress, where the idea for the regional meeting originated

Topics in Amsterdam were, among others, water pricing and nature-based solutions. During the meetings in this congress week, mutual exchange proved promising on a number of water themes. One thing in particular was shared among the participants: to further deepen these initial contacts, and to share and learn from each other’s experiences. The result is the Blue Deal Regional Meeting in Kenya.

Countries and themes

Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Eswatini have indicated that they will participate in July 2024 in this Regional Blue Deal Meeting. Blue Deal Kenya is gracious enough to host the event in Mombasa. The following 3 issues will be part of the exchange:

  1. Water pricing
  2. Funding for water projects
  3. Funding and governance for nature-based solutions

Advantages of exchange

The partnerships participating in the event foresee many advantages of the exchange:

  • Facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices at the international level;
  • Discuss challenges of water management through intervision;
  • Explore the advantages of international cooperation;
  • Deepen and share insights on elevating the importance of water on the political agenda;
  • Strengthen the consortia of Blue Deal/Waterworx (a similar programme to the Blue Deal, initiated by the Dutch drinking water companies) and National Entities.

The regional meeting in Africa can also provide valuable input for the broader Blue Deal programme’s learning activities, such as the Communities of Practice.

Signing for Phase 2 of Blue Deal Partnership Mozambique

Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) and the Regional Water Administrations (ARAs) in Mozambique signed Phase 2 of the Blue Deal programme 2023 - 2030.

The memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed by Luzette Kroon, chair of the Blue Deal programme, alongside the directors of the 3 ARAs. The signing strengthens cooperation between the Netherlands and Mozambique in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), focusing on water quality, availability, flood and drought risk management, and climate change.

The MoUs signing ceremony was attended by Luzette Kroon, Geert-Jan ten Brink, president of the Dutch water authority Hunze en Aa’s, Ivo van Haren, the First Secretary for Water and Sanitation of the Dutch embassy in Mozambique, as well as the directors and technicians of the ARAs. During the ceremony, Kroon highlighted the challenges and successes of the first phase, including capacity building, staffing of the ARAs, and the development of hydrological models.

ARAs’ satisfaction and support

The ARAs expressed satisfaction with the progress of the partnership and confirmed their support for the shared goals and objectives. As key stakeholders in water resources management in Mozambique, they recognise the importance of continuous collaboration, planning, and communication for the success of Phase 2 of the Blue Deal partnership.

Cooperation with Dutch embassy and new IWRM programme

The ceremony also highlighted cooperation between the Blue Deal programme and the Dutch embassy in Mozambique, particularly through its new IWRM programme. As the second phase of the Blue Deal unfolds, the signing of the MoUs represents a significant milestone in strengthening cooperation between the Netherlands and Mozambique in the field of IWRM.

Insights from the visit

The ceremony took place during a work visit by a DWA delegation in January, providing insights into infrastructure management and activities of ARA Sul and the SASB. The delegation learned more about the activities being developed by these 2 partners with the support of the Blue Deal. After this visit, they gained a deeper understanding of the challenges and the measures undertaken for water quality control, flood and drought risk management, sanitation, and climate change adaptation.

DWA delegation visits Mozambique for the Blue Deal programme

In January 2024, a delegation from Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) visited Mozambique to witness the progress of the Blue Deal partnership in the country. This visit marked a crucial milestone in strengthening water management and climate change mitigation efforts in the country. By fostering partnerships and sharing knowledge, countries can work together to develop sustainable water management solutions for the benefit of present and future generations.

Visit to ARA Sul Infrastructures

On January 16, the delegation had the opportunity to explore the Goba telemetry station and the Pequenos Libombos Dam. The visit to these 2 infrastructures shed light on the challenges faced by ARA Sul when working with regional entities and the adjustments needed to respond to climate change.
The flaws in the regional agreements between Mozambique, Eswatini and South Africa, inconsistent data sharing (particularly during drought and rainy seasons), and limited resources were identified as primary hurdles towards sustainable water management in the region. It is evident that the Blue Deal programme’s support, alongside organisations and conferences such as REMCO and INMACOM, can play a pivotal role in strengthening the cooperation between the 3 countries and ensure reliable flood and drought risk management.

Visit to ARA Sul headquarters

On January 17, the DWA delegation engaged in a meeting with ARA Sul’s management team. This water authority is actively involved in various topics within the partnership, such as water quality management, flood risk management (including dike management and early warning systems), groundwater modelling, and licensing of water users. Through ARA Sul and the other partners, the Mozambican partnership draws attention to the need for proactive measures to mitigate the devastating impact of floods in the country.

Signing of MoUs

On January 18, the Mozambican partnership celebrated the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for Phase 2 of the Blue Deal programme. This MoU solidifies the commitment of all parties involved to continue working together towards water-related challenges and climate resilience.

Meeting with the Mozambican Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources

In order to reinforce the Dutch support for Mozambique in water management, sanitation, and climate change issues, the DWA delegation had a meeting with the Mozambican Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources (Carlos Mesquita), the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Mozambique (Elsbeth Akkerman), and the First Secretary for Water and Sanitation of the Dutch embassy in Mozambique (Ivo van Haren). This meeting highlighted the shared vision of both nations in addressing critical water management issues and reaffirmed the Dutch commitment to provide technical expertise, financial aid, and capacity-building support to Mozambique.

Impact of climate change and sea level rise in Beira

The delegation’s work visit concluded with their travel to Beira, where they worked with the Municipality of Beira. Through the SASB (Beira Autonomous Sanitation Service), the partnership is assisting the Municipality of Beira in addressing issues concerning the operation and maintenance of the drainage system and cleaning of the urban canals. These actions are of great importance at a time in which the city is severely affected by the impacts of climate change and sea level rise.

The Blue Deal partnership is facilitating a continuous exchange of knowledge between the 2 countries that started almost 10 years ago through the partnership of the Dutch water authority Hunze en Aas with the Municipality of Beira.

7th REMCO conference in Eswatini: transboundary cooperation is a must

From November 6 to 10, more than 200 water managers and water loving professionals gathered in Mbabane, Eswatini, to attend the 7th edition of the REMCO conference. And for the first time, it was hosted by the Joint River Basin Authorities together with Blue Deal Eswatini.

REMCO stands for River and Environmental Management Cooperation. It is a conference that is held every 2 years in one of the 3 Blue Deal countries in southern Africa: Eswatini, Mozambique and South Africa. These countries share the Maputo and Inkomati river basins. Climate change impacts the region through the greater frequency and severity of floods and droughts. In order to meet these growing challenges, transboundary cooperation is a must.

Sharing knowledge

Water professionals, researchers, policymakers, stakeholders from the Incomati and Maputo River basins and partners from 7 countries, European and African, were all present. They exchanged ideas, talked about innovations and discussed past, present and future challenges in water management. This conference had a focus on improving collaboration on operational water management challenges. Topics discussed included:

  • the participation of women and youth
  • data management and exchange
  • and the importance of water for a growing economy and vibrant communities (agriculture, tourism, industry, energy, etc).

The Blue Deal teams of all 3 countries participated. Representatives of Dutch Water Authorities were present to support, learn and discuss. Dutch Professor Herman Havekes gave a presentation on Dutch water governance. Other Dutch colleagues shared their experience and knowledge as to how transboundary water management with Germany and Belgium is important for the Netherlands as well.

Keynote from Ministry

Welcome remarks were delivered by each country. The keynote speech and official opening of the REMCO conference was done by host country Eswatini. Ms Dorcas Dlamini spoke warm words as Principle Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy. On behalf of the European participants, Ms Ellen Hemmers, head of the delegation from Dutch Water Authorities and Executive Board member of Dutch water authority Vechtstromen, shared the welcome and high expectations for the coming days.

National elections

During the week the results of the national elections in Eswatini became clear. Ms Ellen Hemmers congratulated the newly appointed Prime Minister Russel Dlamini, saying that she understands that the Prime Minister was well versed in issues of water and the importance of sustainable water management. The week after, the JRBA and Waterschap Vechtstromen congratulated the new Minister HRH Prince Lonkhokhelo with his appointment to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy which includes water resource management.

Next location: Mozambique

The last day of the conference is always set aside for a field trip. Tourism was included this year as a topic for both opportunities and sustainable water management. Delegates travelled to the cultural village of Mantenga. However, for those who had missed water after 4 days of inside conference, there was a water option to visit Maguga Dam in Eswatini. The next REMCO will be in 2 years in Mozambique as the previous was 2 years ago in South Africa.

Working towards a climate-resilient Mozambique

From November 13-17, a work visit took place in Nampula, Mozambique, focusing on climate adaptation. We took important steps towards more long-term thinking and started setting our priorities for the next period.

Throughout the year, Blue Deal Mozambique has been dedicated to the theme of climate adaptation. Our focus has been on the northern water authority, ARA-Norte, headquartered in Nampula.

Long-term thinking

While the impacts of climate change are already visible in day-to-day activities, there has been limited attention towards long-term preparations. To initiate thinking about climate adaptation, we collaborated with ARA-Norte, taking cues from the Dutch Delta Programme on Spatial Adaptation, and we took several significant steps.

Risk matrix for setting priorities

During the visit, our initial reflection was on the consequences of climate change, both in the long term based on future scenarios, and on practical experiences in the present. Subsequently, we mapped out areas where these consequences of climate change (such as floods, droughts, and water shortages) occur prominently. We then delved deeper into the risks and impacts at the watershed level, examining their interconnectedness. By creating a ‘risk matrix,’ we gain a better understanding of potential priority areas.

Collaboration with the agricultural sector

Recognising that climate adaptation cannot be tackled alone, we engaged in dialogue with a primary stakeholder: agriculture. Agriculture stands as an immensely significant sector in Mozambique, with approximately 75% of the population involved. Food security is crucial and unfortunately more vulnerable due to climate change. Agriculture heavily relies on sound water management. Therefore, collaboration becomes even more imperative amid climate change. Our local colleagues found this initial stakeholder dialogue both enjoyable and enlightening.

Climate adaptation action plan

In the next phase, we plan to focus more specifically on an area around the city of Cuamba. Several themes converge in this region, including (drinking) water scarcity, erosion from drought, and floods. Based on satellite data, we’ve potentially identified areas suitable for creating upstream water buffers. By conducting field visits and continuing stakeholder dialogues with local authorities and communities, we take significant strides towards an integrated ‘climate adaptation action plan’ for prioritised catchment areas.

Management 4 largest Blue Deal partnerships exchanges knowledge

On September 7, the Dutch management of the 4 largest Blue Deal partnerships came together in the Dutch province Fryslân for a meeting. The objective for this gathering was: how can we learn from each other about managing large partnerships?

The meeting was amongst the partnerships of Mozambique, Colombia, Eswatini and South Africa. The managers were invited to Friesland, at the invitation of the partnership manager of Mozambique, of which Wetterskip Fryslân (the Dutch water authority in the area of Fryslân) is the lead partner. This was the third time that the major partnerships organized such a consultation. This time was extra special, thanks to a boat trip through the beautiful Alde Feanen nature reserve.

Topics to discuss

The colleagues exchanged, for example, their experiences with working with a so-called ‘talking sheet’. This sheets makes it visible which Blue Deal topics the partnership is working on, and where there are topics that still need to be addressed. “It helps to establish a relationship of the concrete activities which are implemented with the longer-term goals,” says one of the participants. “Large partnerships deal with many people and interests. Visualising this helps to get an overview of how all our activities contribute to our larger goals, and what we should continue or stop.”

The participants also discussed, among other things, their annual plans for 2024, presented to each other how they have organised their partnerships and discussed decentralization in one of the partner countries. They also covered the safety assessments of work visits, finances, accountability, and much more.

Learning from each other

An important part of the Blue Deal is learning from each other. Therefore, the Blue Deal learning programme also includes a training for new partnership managers. Thanks to this joint intervision of the partnership managers, the 4 largest partnerships are now going one step further to exchange knowledge with each other.

Blue Deal president visits Mozambique

At the beginning of October, a delegation from the Dutch water authority Wetterskip Fryslân traveled to Mozambique to visit the Blue Deal partnership there.

A visit to the mayor of Beira

Luzette Kroon was one of the members of this delegation. Kroon is board member International Affairs at the Association of Dutch Water Authorities. She is also president of the Blue Deal.

Since 2019, 6 Dutch water authorities have been working on strengthening the 3 ARAs (water authorities in Mozambique) and the sanitation/drainage department SASB of the port city of Beira. They do this to improve the financial management and operational water management of these organizations in the areas of safe, clean and sufficient water. Cross-cutting themes such as nature conservation, biodiversity, social inclusion and climate change play an important role in this. The second phase of this collaboration will start in 2023. This will last until 2030.

Enriching experience

“During my visit to Mozambique, where Wetterskip Fryslân is the lead party for the Blue Deal partnership, I gained an experience that was enormously enriching,” Kroon explains. “Going on site has given me a much clearer picture of the scope of the activities and the commitment required to realize them.”

She continues: “In addition, the attention from board members helps our employees to get in touch with members of the governments in the country more easily. I am struck by the great enthusiasm of the Mozambicans to start the work themselves. At the same time, I have found that we can also learn a lot from our Blue Deal partnerships when it comes to dealing with drought.”

3 countries meet for regional knowledge exchange

The water challenges in Southern Africa are immense. Floodings, droughts; water and climate related disasters always seem to be just around the corner. On November 25, the Blue Deal partnerships of eSwatini, Mozambique and South Africa joined forces in the first joint regional Blue Deal exchange meeting in Johannesburg. Here they discussed the issues regarding data management of water data.

Similar challenges

The 3 countries face similar challenges: how to ensure financial stability? How can data sharing within and between countries be improved? And many technical hurdles, for example how to integrate the now often still separate data systems? As Ntombikayise Dhladhla, participant of the Blue Deal Young Expert Programme, explained: “In eSwatini, the main issues are reliability of the data, which leads to limited data sharing. We are working in silos.”

Lessons learnt

During the day the Blue Deal teams of the 3 countries looked back on Phase 1 of the Blue Deal. Experiences and lessons learnt were shared. Looking to the future, people shared their ideas on which topics the partnerships can work together. Ideas included working together on a central database, organizing shared lab facilities and connecting existing databases.

Different perspectives

Ambassador Han Peters mentioned the importance of long-term equal partnerships, which are the basis for the Blue Deal: “No one country can solve the problems of today on their own. You need different perspectives, you need people from different backgrounds if you want to get to the greatest solutions.” And with this first regional meeting of 3 Blue Deal partnerships, a strong start has been made.

Water evaluation and planning in Mozambique

Water is scarce in Africa. Yet, the people living in the African Republic of Mozambique use it in abundance and often without paying any taxes. As part of the Blue Deal, Dutch Water Authorities is helping the ARA-Sul water authority in southern Mozambique to identify the effects of people's water consumption and to improve the process of levying charges. ARA-Sul itself has launched a radio and tv campaign to call on residents to register.

Climate change represents a huge challenge for water managers everywhere. The numbers of floods, droughts and a lack of clean water are increasing and there’s a growing need for knowledge and expertise on water management. The goal of the Blue Deal programme is to help 20 million people around to world to gain access to clean, sufficient and safe water. To that end, Dutch Water Authorities forms international alliances with local water authorities elsewhere.

6 years of drought

In all, there are 17 partnerships in 15 countries, of which the Mozambique partnership is the most extensive one. It has resulted in pilot projects that aim to improve flood forecasting, water quality, distribution of available water and operational plans. “A better distribution of the available water is key,” says Martin Bos, Programme Director of the Dutch water authority Wetterskip Fryslân. “The most recent drought in the country lasted for 6 years.”

Shortage of water is a common occurrence, adds Lizete Diaz, Head of Water Resources Services at the ARA-Sul water authority in southern Mozambique. “Take the reservoir behind the Pequenos Libombos dam, for example. It’s supposed to hold a supply of water that lasts the region for 3 years. But in 2020 there was only 20 per cent of that normal supply left. Fortunately, things have improved since then. But we need to manage and monitor our water resources better.”


The introduction of WEAP (a model for Water Evaluation and Planning) has helped ARA-Sul with this. “Not only does WEAP establish different scenarios for the effects of water usage and climate change,” Bos explains. “It makes clear how ARA-Sul can best deal with them as well.” Diaz adds: “It helps us understand how much water we have. And just as important, how we can best distribute it.”

In Mozambique surface water is mainly used for agricultural and industrial purposes, groundwater for drinking. “WEAP only applies to surface water,” Diaz goes on. “There is another model for groundwater. Currently, we’re running a pilot in Maputo, so that we understand how much groundwater is available for consumption.”


As in many countries, water management is costly in Mozambique. “But unfortunately, it’s not easy to levy taxes,” Diaz says. “That’s why we help ARA-Sul to improve the levying process,” Bos adds. “If a farm is using water for irrigation, for example, or an industrial company is polluting one of the rivers, we’ll try to make them foot the bill.”

The partnership is also helping to determine the appropriate rates and develop an administration system for creating and sending invoices. But the problem is: ARA-Sul has nowhere to send them to, since many consumers have failed to register. Diaz: “We’ve started a campaign on radio and television asking people to make themselves known. It has been quite a success. In the first 3 months, there were hundreds of new registrations.”

If residents refuse to register, at some point they will be fined, Diaz says. “But not just yet. I have faith in people. Let’s wait and see how our campaign plays out.”

Text: Pieter Verbeek

Celebrating 10 years of cross-border cooperation in southern Africa

Regional water managers in the Netherlands, Germany, eSwatini, Mozambique and South Africa have been sharing experiences for ten years now. What binds them is how you work together in border regions.

From 17-19 November, the lustrum took place at the River and Environmental Management Cooperation in South Africa. Problems such as drought, flooding, climate change and women empowerment were discussed. The Deputy Minister of South Africa endorsed the importance of seeking solutions in the Blue Deal partnerships.