Albania is rich in water. All its electricity is generated by hydropower. But otherwise there is much still to do in the country when it comes to integrated water resource management, water supply, wastewater management and flood protection. These themes take centre stage during a special meeting on Albania’s water challenges that NWP is organising with the Albanian Embassy on 27 March. Adia Sakiqi, the Albanian Ambassador to the Netherlands, is calling on the Dutch water sector to think about water issues with the country and come up with solutions for Albania’s water challenges. Read her blog
Adia Sakiqi, the Albanian Ambassador to the Netherlands
Rapid urban development
“We have a lot of potential given our very rich water resources (see 'Water in Albania'). But at the same time we have many challenges. Albania is changing rapidly and urban development is especially booming. Tirana already has some 700,000 inhabitants and is a good example of urban Renaissance. It requires huge investments for drinking water facilities and wastewater treatment. Besides the necessary expansion and renewal of infrastructure and increasing revenues, non-revenue water reduction and governance are important themes. We are already working on this with Dunea, the Dutch drinking water company, and the Delfland water authority both of whom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tirana Water Utility in November 2017. The MoU agreed to a mutually beneficial multi-year collaboration.
National and cross-disciplinary approach
Outside of Tirana, much of the country is still rural. The demand here for modern, efficient irrigation techniques is strong. Sybe Schaap, NWP’s Chairman whose term of office is soon to come to an end, is on the Board of Advisors for the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture. He knows our situation very well and can tell you all about it at the meeting on 27 March. The meeting will also include opportunities for the Dutch water sector.
Many studies have been conducted in recent years on coastal and river issues such as flood protection, flood early warning systems and coastal erosion. But what we really need is a national approach and this is something that I would like to discuss with Dutch experts.
A very interesting aspect of the Dutch water sector is its cross-disciplinary approach. Dutch architects from the Rotterdam region are currently working on urban development and it would be great if we could make our urban development more integrated, for example by including flood protection. These architects are also coming to the meeting on 27 March. Another promising track is RVO.nl’s Partners for International Business Programme (PIB). Jointly with an Albanian public partner, we are exploring opportunities with PIB for Albanian and Dutch companies.
Partners of Albanian water sector
And although Dutch companies are undoubtedly the best in the world in the water sector, they will find some very serious partners in Albania to carry out ambitious projects. Abkons, for instance, is one of the biggest consultancy companies in Albania. It has already expanded into Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and the rest of the Western Balkans. It has much expertise in gas pipelines and hydropower, but also in disaster mitigation, dam rehabilitation and irrigation. In fact, the Albanian government hired Abkons to prepare and implement the integrated water resources management strategy.
We would like to join forces with Dutch specialists in the parts of the water sector relevant to us to create sustainable business and institutional cooperation. This will in turn offer integrated and sustainable solutions.
Big programmes in different water areas will probably start in the next few years, mostly funded by the EU, the World Bank and the National Government of Albania. So we expect further rapid development and we know for certain that Dutch expertise can boost this development. Hence my call: join us on 27 March to explore our joint approach for Albanian water challenges!”
Water in Albania
28,784 km² territory (70% of the Netherlands)
3 million inhabitants
43,305 km² of hydrographic basin
152 rivers and streams
1,500 km² lagoons
478 km coastline
For more information about the meeting on 27 March and about doing water business in Albania, please contact Ruben Vermeer, firstname.lastname@example.org or Suzanne Tietema, email@example.com. After registration you will receive a personal invitation with the agenda of the meeting.