Blue Deal - Dutch Water Authorities

The Blue Deal strengthens capacity building of water authorities in 15 countries (17 international partnerships) so that they can implement long-term solutions, to achieve the goal of providing 20 million people with access to clean, sufficient and safe water by 2030. Climate adaptation and social inclusion are structural to such solutions.

Stage of the project




Starting Up





Why was this project started?

In 2018, the Dutch water authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management joined forces to work with other organisations around the world to achieve SDG6 in a collaboration called the Blue Deal.

The results of the project so far

A considerable part of Phase 1 was devoted to establishing a solid foundation for the programme. It was built with 17 partnerships, a baseline assessment was performed, multi-annual plans were implemented and we learned from the Mid-term Review (MTR). Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic made implementation difficult, and had a major impact on the programme. Adapting to the new situation therefore dominated Phase 1. However, we succeeded in adjusting the programme quickly and effectively during the pandemic. In Phase 1, the programme probably reached around 2 million people .

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

The Blue Deal distinguishes itself from other initiatives through the long-term duration (12 years) and unique approach that strengthens other governments. Themes that stand out are the establishment of a well-functioning management and maintenance of water management and financial independence of the water authority abroad. The Blue Deal even has the potential to boost attention for water governance worldwide. The programme adapted quickly and well to the COVID-19 pandemic and the partnerships are relevant to the challenges of water management. The international work of the water authorities has also been highly professionalised by the Blue Deal, the Programme Office is functioning well and people working on the programme are committed and highly motivated.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

The first phase has been evaluated and a number of important improvements are needed in the design and approach of the programme, which will be adjusted in phase 2. Some of the lessons:
- Make sure the ambition is very clear. The program will last till 2030. You need enough flexibility to adjust, but your ambition on strategic level should stay the same.
- The more partners you have, the more complicated a program will be. Therfore the decision-making structure (governance) should be as lean and mean as possible. This may take time to discuss. You will win it back on the long run.
- Be clear on your expectations from each partner. It creates a lot of noise when you think you have similar expectations while they differ in reality.
- Also for a program with a long-term commitment it is important to think beforehand how you will end the program in 2030. What should you have accomplished by that time? of course it can change over time, but you need at least some goal to work on.

Have others adopted, or shown interest in adopting, your idea in their own area?

The long-term approach is appreciated and recognized by other partners. However, it is only slowly integrated in other programs. This merely depends on the financial commitments of the donors.

Can you tell us how valuable this project was for you?

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