Blue Deal opens new water laboratory in the West Bank

In July, Sander Mager, vice president of the Dutch water authority Amstel, Gooi en Vecht, visited the Blue Deal partnership in the Palestinian Territories. There, he had the honour to open a new water laboratory in the city of Kharas.

Sander Mager (left) opens the new water laboratory

This will be the first lab to test the water quality in North-Hebron. It is a research centre in an area of around a quarter million people. Besides testing the water quality, it monitors the effluent of the local waste water treatment plant in the municipality of Kharas.

The construction was made possible through the cooperation with the municipality of Kharas, the Joint Service Council, and the Palestinian Water Authority.

3 BluElephants launched in the Palestinian Territories

In September, 3 wastewater recycling units, or 'BluElephants', were officially launched in Salfeet and Halhul in the West Bank in the Palestinian Territories and are piloted for 2 years.

The pilot is part of the Blue Deal partnership together with the WaterWorx programme. The Blue Deal partnership is working on improving water quality and water management in Palestinian Territories.

The units have arrived at the Palestinian locations where there is an urgent need for wastewater treatment: the President Mahmoud Abbas Governmental Hospital in the city of Halhul (two BluElephants) and one at the Red Cresent clinic, office building and apartments in the city of Salfeet.

Urgent need

In most municipalities of the Palestinian Territories there is no sewage wastewater treatment in place and there is an urgent need for wastewater treatment. Like many countries, the Palestinian Territories suffer from severe water shortages due to growing water demands combined with extreme weather events due to climate change. Rivers are running dry and groundwater levels are unprecedentedly low. On top of that, the political situation remains tense, and transboundary water sharing is part of the conflict. Saving, recovering and reusing water is crucial in order to safeguard water supplies today and in the future. Therefore, the launch of the 3 BluElephant units at 3 Palestinian locations was welcomed with open arms.


Dr. Fadi Danna of the President Mahmoud Abbas Governmental Hospital in the city of Halhul (2 BluElephants) states: “I am so proud to have the BluElephants at the hospital ground and to show the public the need for treating waste water, to ensure a good environment, public health and more water availability. The BluElephant is truly a blessing since Halhul Municipality does not have any collection or treatment system.”

In the coming years, the Dutch-Palestinian Water Operators’ Partnership will closely test and review the functioning and applicability of the units in Palestinian Territories and elsewhere around the world.

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“Scale up BluElephant”

Early August the project leader of the Palestinian territories (Mr Frank Tibben) gave an interview to H2O Water Network about the BluElephant, an innovative and mobile wastewater treatment unit.

The concept fits seamlessly into the Blue Deal and WaterWorX programmes with regard to clean and safe water and protecting people and the environment. The first three units will be placed in the Palestinian Territories in November at locations selected by the Palestinian Water Authority, with the most urgent needs.

The pilot will be presented during the Amsterdam International Water Week conference in November, with the aim of further scaling up.

Lecture: solutions for complex water problems

The KIWI learning programme recently organised a lecture by professor Guy Alaerts about the unruly nature of international water management and solutions for complex water problems.

Water managers worldwide are looking for integrated solutions for complex water problems. Major investments are often required to become climate proof, but finding financing is difficult. Water managers and financial institutions do not know where to find each other and converting globally available financing into concrete projects on a large scale is difficult. Watch the lecture below. The lecture is in Dutch, but can be viewed with subtitles.

Study: water management knowledge exchange

TU Delft and Erasmus University, in collaboration with Dutch Water Authorities, have launched a study into water management knowledge exchange. The universities are investigating which lessons the Dutch regional water authorities take abroad.

Meeting room with people seated at tables for a traning session. One man is stood, giving a presentation.
Dutch Water Authorities and local partners attending a training session.

As part of the study into water management knowledge exchange university researchers are looking at the lessons learned at an individual level, group level and organisational level. The aim is to find out exactly what effect these lessons have on organisations.


A questionnaire is sent out via the Dutch Water Authorities foreign coordinators. It is hoped that insight can be gained into the possibilities and limiting factors of international knowledge sharing.

More on Dutch Water Authorities and knowledge exchange

Blue Deal Annual plan 2021

The 2021 annual plan of the Blue Deal programme has been approved by the steering committee. The partnerships will continue their work in 2021 to improve water management in 14 countries.

Two men inspecting a waste water treatment plant.

The focus of the Blue Deal Annual plan 2021 is on three crucial elements: sufficient knowledge and skills, a well-functioning organisation and collaboration with key stakeholders.

Online learning

As COVID-19 continues into 2021, the Blue Deal partnerships focus on online learning and training in the first six months. This is not easy in all countries, for example due to slow internet connections or recently initiated partnerships. Therefore, the partnerships also focus on additional local representation. Dutch Water Authorities hopes to physically meet its partners again in the second half of 2021.

More on the Blue Deal