Yemen’s Trouble Word: WATER!! [Archives:1997/48/Business & Economy]

December 1 1997

Ismail Al-Ghabiri, Yemen Times
The fourth workshop on the “Institutional Options and Private Sector Participation in the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Yemen” was held in Sanaa during 22-25 November. Sponsored by the Ministry of Electricity and Water, the German Technical Cooperation body (GTZ), and the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute (EDI), the workshop included the presentation of several research papers on the present water situation in Yemen and the possibilities of private sector participation in managing this precious and vital resource. Concluding the workshop, the participants suggested the following recommendations.
Private sector participation 1- A law governing the exploitation of water resources must be speedily issued, and the General Water Resources Authority must be empowered to enact such a law. Priority must be given to measures preserving water and controlling pollution. 2- The Ministry of Health should, until a regulatory body is formed, temporarily oversee water treatment according to standards suitable for human consumption. 3- The national private sector must be urged to expand its activity and earnestly take part in investing in and managing water and sewage installations. 4- The Ministry of Electricity and Water should take the following steps in order to encourage the private sector to play a more active role. a- The private sector must be supplied with all necessary information regarding government policies and goals and the investment opportunities available in the water and sewage sector. b- The ministry should help develop the capabilities of private sector companies in this field. c- The ministry should facilitate long-term loans for private sector companies willing to invest in this sector. 5- A suitable tariff policy must be executed to achieve cost effectiveness and attract the national and international private sectors. 6- Regulatory rules must be introduced allowing the private sector to provide water and sewage services according to commitments and guarantees to investors and consumers alike. 7- The government should conduct a media campaign to attract the international private sector to invest in the water and sewage sector in Yemen. 8- The government should specify the areas available for private investments in the sewage disposal and treatment sector.
General recommendations 1- Investment in the water and sewage sector in rural areas must be intensified. 2- Suitable mechanisms should be implemented to sustain rural projects and encourage their management, maintenance, and development by the beneficiaries, the cooperatives, and the local authorities. 3- A specialized seminar should be organized to discuss the implementation and management of rural water and sewage projects. 4- A comprehensive study should be conducted on the problem of water scarcity in Taiz. 5- The government should urge the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation to encourage and assist farmers in using modern irrigation methods so as to conserve water resources.