February 15, 2021

Project Completed: HYDROPHIL supported the Palestinian Water Authority

Assignment location: Palestine
Client: Palestinian Water Authority
Funding: Austrian Development Agency

A multidisciplinary team of HYDROPHIL recently concluded an assignment to support the future institutional development of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) – the designated government institution in charge of water and sanitation in Gaza and the West Bank. The support was provided under the “Technical Assistance Support for the Austrian Development Cooperation in the Water and Sanitation Sector” project.

For decades, HYDROPHIL has successfully analysed and advised public institutions in the water sector.  A typical challenge is how to increase the effectiveness in public administration to adjust to changing conditions and demanding external environments. HYDROPHIL supports governments and donors in developing strategies to improve the performance and accountability of key institutions in the water sector and thereby enhancing service delivery and stakeholder confidence.

Picture source: K. Nassereldin

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most of the consultations and discussions for this assignment were done online. Due to this unprecedented situation, the team of experts made increased efforts to gain a deeper understanding of the situation and areas of needed support. The collaboration amongst the PWA nominated assignment task force, an experienced national sector expert, and the Austrian Representative Office colleagues – guaranteed that the propositions were relevant and realistic.

The main objective of HYDROPHIL’s work was to develop recommendations to strengthen the current institutional setting to ensure a sustainable structure is in place to allow PWA fulfilling its roles and responsibility in line with the water law. Therefore, an organisational performance assessment was conducted, with a focus on the following areas – planning, monitoring and evaluation, reporting, and coordination.

During this assignment, the team of experts led by Dr Sonja Hofbauer concluded that future support must focus on the strategic planning level with the utmost flexibility to respond to the changing needs of an unpredictable external environment. The strategic planning level was found to be the most relevant in ensuring alignment of interventions to overall plans, updating them, and acquiring the necessary resources to implement them.

To date, strategic infrastructure development projects in Palestine are to a great extent donor-funded, while the PWA focuses on project implementation and operation, as well as maintenance oversight. During this assignment, the key recommendations were geared to support the strategic planning level of how to increase its effectiveness and efficiency during the coming three to five years, aiming to improve service delivery and accountability to Palestinians and relevant stakeholders, as well as ultimately creating financial sustainability to attain strategic targets.

Lastly, the team developed an action plan that outlines how the assessment recommendations would be taken forward. With these valuable outputs at hand, the Head of Gaza Coordination Unit, Eng. Marwan Al Bardawil was looking forward to engaging with the ADA and to take the next steps. HYDROPHIL is grateful for the fantastic collaboration with PWA, ADA, and donor colleagues in the sector and would be thrilled to support turning the promising results into action!