The Dominican Republic has made great strides in recent years in terms of economic growth. World Bank data indicate that between 2015 and 2019 the country´s annual GDP grew at an average rate of 6.1 percent. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, including the Dominican Republic. After an economic contraction of 5.1 percent in 2020, the Interamerican Development Bank suggests that greater public investment and more efficient public expending will be needed to stimulate economic recovery. Economic Growth for 2021 is expected to be back in the 5 percent range.
However, in spite of these positive economic figures, the Dominican Republic faces serious societal obstacles and, additionally, it is listed as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the effects of global climate change. Despite its impressive economic turnaround, the country still has a long way to go in terms of its water-related challenges.
With the aforementioned economic growth comes a national ambition to promote investment in water infrastructure projects on various scales. But at the same time, the Dominican water sector still faces severe challenges related to the coverage and quality of drinking water and sanitation services, limited urban wastewater treatment, insufficient monitoring of quantity and quality of water, deforestation, and watershed degradation. These risks are further exacerbated by the significant water stress in some regions of the country due to increased demand and lower precipitation during the past decade.
In September 2020, the Dominican Government established a special Cabinet for the water sector, as a mechanism to define, coordinate and monitor water related policy, strategy, programmes, actions and budget. The country is also in the process of updating the National Hydrological Plan (PHN, by its acronym in Spanish), which is expected to be ready in 2023. The new plan will provide updated data on water availability and demand by regions and economic sectors, and will present a roadmap for prioritisation of investments in the water sector, particularly oriented towards water resources management.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Santo Domingo, through H.E. Ambassador Annemieke Verrijp and Commercial Liaison Officer Reinier Davina, has compiled the 'Dominican Republic Water Sector Report 2021'. It shows the current state of water resources in the Dominican Republic and the measures being taken by the Dominican Government to both ensure the proper management of these resources and promote investment in water infrastructure projects.