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Having the Agenda 2030 in sight - Water and Sanitation Conference in Romania

Water and Sanitation Safety Planning in rural areas of Romania and Macedonia

28.01.2017 |

Water and sanitation are of utmost importance for the development of rural areas in Eastern Europe. In the new agenda 2030, water and sanitation are prominent in SDG6, but also in other goals. The agenda 2030 is relevant for all countries and its overall aim is to leave no-one behind.

Water and sanitation safety planning (WSSP) is a health based approach, follows the WHO Guidelines and can be a very efficient. WECF adapted this approach to reach small communities and to improve local conditions. The approach will become more and more important for rural areas as water safety planning will be mandatory in the EU.

European Drinking Water Directive

Following the public consultation on the quality of drinking water in 2014, the European commission changed the Annexes of the Drinking Water Directive. The new Annex II provides an option to perform the drinking water monitoring in around 100,000 water supply zones in Europe in a more flexible way, provided a risk assessment is performed ensuring full protection of public health. The water safety plan approach allows to reduce unnecessary analyses and to concentrate on those controls that matter. The amended directive entered into force on 27th October 2015. It has to be transposed into national legislation within a period of 24 months by the EU Member States.

Drinking water supply and sanitation in rural communities

The conference taking place December 13, 2016 in Timisoara, Romania, addressed the challenge to manage drinking water supply and sanitation in rural communities safely and efficiently within a risk based health approach.
Welcome was given by the host Dr. Ilie Vlaicu, Aquatim and Aquademica, the funder Ms. Melanie Stolzenberg-Lindner, German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the international director of WECF, Sascha Gabizon.

WECF Water and sanitation specialist Dr. Claudia Wendland set the Agenda2030 scene and introduced the new water and sanitation targets under SDG6 which is of special importance for Europe.

Ms Bistra Mihaylova, WECF Eastern Europe coordinator, introduced the second edition of the WSSP compendium. The compendium has been revised and updated, the three parts give background information and guidance how to develop water and sanitation safety planning in small rural communities in the European Region: The third part provides special guidance to teachers how to involve schools in WSSP in an interactive way.

“In general there is a lack of sense of responsibility and inaccurate perception of water-related health risks,” said Natasha Dokovska Spirovska, from the NGO Journalists for Human Rights, who presented the situation of small water and sanitation systems in Macedonia, other problems are: the small water supply and sanitation systems are not clearly regulated, there are limited technical, personal and financial resources. Small systems have relatively higher per unit costs and there is only untrained and part-time staff available.

Dr. Mihaela Vasilescu, Ecological University of Bucharest, presented the first results of the WSSP in the village Manastiur close to Timinsoara. The WSSP team was formed with stakeholders of the village. Along the drinking water scheme from source to tap in the household, the risks were identified and assessed. A plan to improve the situation was developed including simple, cheap but efficient measures were formulated to start with, e.g. restricting grazing areas so that animals so that animals like cows do not enter the water protection zone any longer.

Presentations of all the speakers can be found here:

• Claudia Wendland - introduction into SDG6
• Bistra Mihaylova - developing WSSP with the WECF compendium
• Natasha Dokovska - water and sanitation in rural areas of Macedonia
• Filip Spirovski - WSSP results in Macedonian schools
• Cristina Nica - water quality and sanitary conditions
• Corina Ilin - public perception versus environmental risks
• Mihaela Vasilescu - results of WSSP in Manastiur Romania
• Leti Popa - WSSP results in Romanian school

The presentations were followed by a discussion by the participants on “How can the WSSP-methodology for small communities be implemented in the countries and how it can be financed?” The participants came from different countries (Romania, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegowina and Moldova) and mostly acknowledged the usefulness of the WSSP approach and the guidance of the compendium. It was agreed that the risk approach of the WSSP provides an efficient tool but it needs a pilot region in each country where the methodology and the institutional setting has to be tested and proven. The WSSP should demonstrate that it can decrease the water and wastewater tariff because the management is more efficient and targeted.

The conference was the closing conference of the WSSP project in Romania and Macedonia in the framework of the export initiative environmental technologies by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.


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