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Water Without Borders

Alexis Clerebaut
13 December 2019
On November 28, Water Platform, a group of Belgian water experts, organized the event “Water Without Borders” at the Egmont palace. The goal: to reflect on a collective approach to improve water management in the area of Development Cooperation and to capitalize on the expertise of Belgian actors in this field.


Water management affects all continents. The global population continues to grow, the living standard rises and so do the victims of climate change. More than 1 billion do not have access to water whereas this is a human right.

During Water Without Borders,  90 water operators from the public sector, the private sector, civil society and the academic world tackled the sixth sustainable development goal of the United-Nations: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. The Belgian Development Cooperation supported this event.


Strengthening the coordination between the actors, an added value

The water issue concerns multiple actors, sectors and disciplines. Mainly, the success of a project depends on the capacity of adeptly coordinating the different levels of action. Governments adopt a general vision and create the necessary legislation, the NGOs and the local authorities report on the situation in the field. The global level adopts the global strategies, they define the goals. This allows for information to be exchanged and for the different actors to be mapped. As a result, they function as a vector for global harmonization.


An app for water management in Haiti

The cooperation between UC Louvain and Join For Water, a Belgian NGO which specializes in water is a success story. Sandra Soares Frazao, teacher at the Louvain School of Engineering:

“The goal of this project is to develop a web application in order to help the distribution of water in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Eastern hemisphere of the planet.  The inequality of access to resources is large.  This application is linked to a network of taps and fountains where Join For Water is active. These are regions where only 60% of taps are operational and/or where 20% of the invoices are paid”.

The application shows the amount of available water. Previously, this needed to be done manually. It also allows to evaluate the amount of paid invoices. This means that the app has a true added-value when it comes to water management in the field. Even more, this model can be transferred to new fountains, new users and new regions.

This project shows us in what way Belgian expertise can be mobilized in this domain. It is also a nice example of cooperation: the State University of Haiti is taking part in this project.

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