The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has signed an agreement with the Kingdom of theNetherlands to provide support, share expertise and experiences in the water sector.Water Affairs Minister Lindiwe Hendricks and the Netherlands' Ambassador to South Africa FransEngering signed the agreement on the Partners for Water Programme in Pretoria on Tuesday.With this programme, the Netherlands will provide support to the local water sector through sharingits expertise and experience and provide resources aimed at improving service delivery.The 'Partners for Water' Programme will be implemented through the Masibambane Water SectorSupport Programme.It will broadly provide support to feasibility studies, identification and market studies, businessdevelopment projects, demonstrations, pilot projects and institutional development projects."The projects under the programme are aimed at supporting the water sector in South Africa bytransferring expertise and experience available in the Dutch water sector and strengthen theperformance of the particular parties in addressing world water issues," said the department.The projects will promote economic and social benefits in the country as well as being an economicspin-off for the Dutch water sector.The department added that the projects should comply with a number of requirements, based onsound business proposals that lead to a sustainable cooperative relationship.According to the department, funds of up to 5 million euro per year were made available globally froma number of government departments in Netherlands.These funds will be accessed by at least two Dutch partners together with partners in 43 othercountries, one of which is South Africa.Minister Hendricks thanked the ambassador for his country's continued support for service deliveryand poverty alleviation."Netherlands's involvement in the water sector dates back to 1994 when it supported initiatives in thesector, which included support to NGOs and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, especiallyin 'gearing up' for the Department's Masibambane Flagship programme in 2001," said Ms Hendricks.Ambassador Engering said he was pleased that previous cooperation between the Netherlands andSouth Africa in the water sector had been followed up with this agreement."I expect the Partners for Water programme to open up new ways for exchange of expertise andcooperation in the field of water management, in particular through public-private partnerships," saidMr Engering.
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