Water scarcity and inadequate water infrastructure in Palestine has resulted in water demand exceeding the available supply for all uses. Since 2021, the EU-funded “Water and Environment Support (WES) in the ENI Southern Neighbourhood region” project, continues to implement an activity to support the Palestinian Water Authority and related stakeholders in improving revenue generation including through out-sourcing to the private sector and thus help improve water services provision and their resilience to external shocks.
The WES team of water experts organised a hybrid Consultation Workshop on the 16th of March 2023, at the Tulkarm Municipality Meeting Hall in Palestine, during which they presented:
- The results and findings of the rapid review and assessment of the existing institutional and legal framework governing the engagement of the private sector in water services in Palestine.
- The actions recommended for improved billing and collection practices in the pilot Area of Tulkarm municipality, and the conclusions regarding the feasibility of Micro PSP as an option at this stage to improve the financial management of public water services in the country. Good practices on regional/international level and respective improvements on existing practices were also stated.
Following the above presentations, the WES experts discussed the recommended improvements to procedures of billing and collection, as well as the main challenges and requirements for possible implementation of a Micro PSP approach, with more than 70 participants representing the Palestinian Water Authority, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance, Tulkarm Municipality being the pilot area, Water Sector Regulatory Council, EU delegation in Palestine and private sector.
The conclusions and recommendations were validated and the main challenges facing the engagement of local private companies in the implementation of water services, along with a planned program for the implementation of the remaining tasks were presented.
Indeed, the outcome of a fruitful dialogue that was established between the stakeholders, will positively impact the way forward in the implementation of the proposed recommendations and the of the nationwide actions that will be prepared within the framework of this activity to enable the water sector in Palestine and the private sector to engage in micro PSP options focusing on the reduction of the commercial aspects of NRW, which will eventually improve access to safe drinking water.