Water Management

Global challenges in the field of water

Water security is a human right, but for more than 700 million people that right to safe drinking water is still not regulated. There are 2.5 billion people in the world who do not have access to sanitation and billions of people live in areas where there is an increasing scarcity of water. Economic growth, population growth, urbanization and climate change are increasingly leading to too little, too dirty, or too much water. The World Economic Forum sees the water crisis as the main threat to the global economy.

The Dutch contribution to solutions

The Netherlands wants to contribute to solutions for this global water problem. The Netherlands does this by:

  1. Help improve access to drinking water and sanitation for the poorest
  2. Search for improved water productivity in agriculture
  3. Help improve management of catchment areas (rivers) and deltas
 

What will the Netherlands achieve with this commitment?

  1. As of 2004, our efforts have given 50 million people access to sanitation and, by the end of 2015, 30 million people have access to safe drinking water
  2. Thanks to programs such as Securing Water for Food, this is slowly taking shape and we are working with FAO and UNESCO-IHE to help millions of farmers with their irrigation practices.
  3. Even though these are large, complex, and long-term projects, Dutch aid to the Nile and Senegal rivers has led to conflict prevention and, after very severe storms, to flood protection in New York and Orleans.
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Challenges for Chile and the Netherlands in the field of water

Chile faces a number of challenges arising from years of drought caused by climate change: outdated legislation based on water abundance; large parts of the country suffering from drought; fragmented water management; geographical move of agriculture towards the South, where there is still water; little or no recycling or collection and storage of rainwater; pollution of rivers and silting of deltas.

In recent years, the Netherlands has also been confronted with changing weather patterns, which for the first time in our country lead to drought in the spring and / or summer, and serious surpluses at other times of the year (the Netherlands has extensive experience with this).

Dutch water policy is based on the inherent interdependence of our country with water through rivers, the coast and an important part of the land that is under water. But that policy is constantly evolving based on new experiences, knowledge, and technology, partly prompted by the increasing drought.

The Netherlands and Chile can complement each other well in this field and exchange knowledge and experiences that yield mutual benefits.

The aim of the Dutch-Chilean water cooperation

The Netherlands and Chile are working together in the field of water with the aim of exchanging scientific and administrative knowledge, sharing (concrete) short, medium and long-term solutions that lead to tackling the challenges that both countries have in this area.

As a water country, the Netherlands has a lot of knowledge and has experienced a lot of drought in recent years. Chile, as a drought country, has a unique situation in several areas where the Netherlands can help and vice versa.

The Netherlands does this by offering innovative solutions based on active communication about our role as an expert in the field of water and by offering policy, administrative and scientific support to the Chilean and Dutch public, private and knowledge sectors.

The areas in which the Netherlands and Chile work together

The Netherlands and Chile recently agreed to focus primarily on solutions for water cooperation for:

  1. Integrated water management and control of water: collection, storage, distribution, use, treatment, reuse, and storage for reuse – both in quantity and quality.
  2. Integrated coastal protection: beach restoration, delta access and inland waterways based on the “building with nature” concept.
  3. Water technology and circular economy: water quantity and quality, reuse, desalination, and social awareness.

The way in which the Netherlands contributes to Chilean water solutions

Years of experience in the field of integrated water management, water purification, efficient water use in agriculture and water reuse in the Netherlands, offers Chile a number of opportunities to make use of Dutch knowledge and experience, especially in areas where Chile has major challenges. The Netherlands would like to work with Chile in the following ways to find the most suitable approach to the challenges for them:

  1. Providing knowledge and insight into how we manage water and advising on making choices that apply to the Chilean situation – through support to the government and knowledge exchange.
  2. Make concrete contributions to specific (pilot) projects such as beach restoration, thinking about and planning water treatment plants for large and small applications, leading (parts of) projects on integrated water management, advising on / supporting awareness of the importance of water (quantity and quality) with AWS certification, etc.
  3. Bringing the attention to specific technological solutions for concrete challenges in the field of efficiency, water extraction, etc.

The Netherlands and Chile recently signed a Letter of Intent (LoI), which will run until 2024, in which the aforementioned areas and ways of cooperation are identified. Based on this, projects are running (see below) and new requests for cooperation or advice will be identified and addressed.

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References:

DGA: Dirección General de Agua, Ministerio de Obras Públicas (www.dga.cl)

GORE: Gobierno Regional

CDRP: Corporación Regional de Desarrollo Productivo (www.crdp.cl)

DOP: Dirección de Obras Portuarias, Ministerio de Obras Públicas (www.dop.cl)

DOH: Dirección de Obras Hidráulicas, Ministerio de Obras Públicas (www.doh.gov.cl)

APR: Agua Potable Rural (www.doh.gov.cl/apr/acercadeapr/paginas/acercaapr.aspx)