Water experts improve evaluation and monitoring techniques [Archives:2009/1224/Local News]

January 12 2009

SANA'A, Jan 10 – Technicians and administrators working in the water sector recently devised new programs for monitoring water projects. These programs are oriented around the impact of projects rather than the achievement of objectives.

A 'Performance Indicator Information System' was developed on both local and national levels in order to improve continuity of monitoring. Data from monitoring is gathered in a common information bank concerning all the agencies working in the water sector in Yemen so that information can easily be shared. These are just some of the new programs to be used to develop the water sector further.

Other new programs include using a logic frame matrix when planning projects. New types of indicators and efficiency measurements for the organizational units and governing body of the water establishment have also been implemented.

This change came as a result of an intensive five-day training course for twenty five water engineers and administrators from government water establishments around the country. The training, which was carried out last month by the GTZ and Inwent, aimed at motivating the participants to change their approach to water projects, especially concerning the evaluation of such projects.

The participants called for the creation of an information system for monitoring and evaluation so that they can more easily implement the knowledge gained during the training.

One of the participants, engineer and General Manager of Hajja Water Local Corporation Mohamed Al-Duais, said that the participants need this kind of training to help them restructure their approach to water projects. This is especially true considering that water is one of the most critical resources in Yemen.

“Moving from mere financial auditing of the projects to impacting evaluations is a huge benefit of the training,” stated Al-Duais. “We will be able to use this feedback in order to enhance performance in all water sector activities. Also, the use of standard terminology and measurements will be of critical assistance for us when evaluating water projects.”

According to World Bank reports, Yemen's water problem is reaching a critical point given that water resources are distributed unevenly and that 90 percent of the population has less than 90 cubic meters of water annually for domestic use. This statistic is 10 percent below the worldwide norm. Reports estimate that only 44 percent of the population has access to main water supplies, and only 12 percent have access to safe sanitation.

In general, all surface water resources – 60 percent of Yemen's renewable water resources – are already being exploited beyond the level of renewal. This very rapid development has brought major problems along with it. Groundwater is being mined at such a rate that parts of the rural economy could dry up. Areas under greatest pressure are the central highlands, the western escarpment, and coastal plains.

Although Yemen has many authorities specialized in dealing with water issues, such as the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) and the National Water Resource Authority (NWRA), these authorities face many difficulties in activating rules and policies. Such authorities have lacked the technical means, legal instruments, and political will to regulate the sinking of wells and groundwater extraction.

The above training helped officials in the sector come to terms with their tasks and enabled them to perform better. This is according to the participants themselves who expressed their interest in more future training and capacity building of the sort.