Within the framework of the Flemish Partnership Water for Development, De Watergroep, together with Protos and the Flemish authorities, participates in a project to improve the drinking water supply in the Congolese province of Ituri.

30 years' experience in Congo

For more than 30 years, the NGO Protos has been working with Congolese partner CIDRI on the development of drinking water and sanitation facilities in the province of Ituri in East Congo. This has led to the construction of 13 drinking water systems that supply half a million people with water. This still represents just 1 in 9 people in Ituri. They are managed by drinking water committees, which are made up of members of the population. With the help of CIDRI they succeed in keeping the infrastructure up and running, but there is still ample room for improvement.
"In Congo, in theory at least, a large number of state institutions are involved in water management. In 2014, the ‘code de l’eau’ was voted in the Congolese parliament. This code provides a legal framework for reform of the water sector. Prior to 2014, water management was a state monopoly. The new law also permits management by the local community. This represents a challenge for the country's drinking water sector, as most institutions are not prepared for decentralisation and lack the necessary competencies and resources. This project seeks to address this issue," says Marc Despiegelaere of Protos.


Queuing at water taps

CongoThe drinking water systems that were built roughly 20 years ago have in the meantime become much too small due to the increase in population. The result: long queues at the public water taps which are opened only in the morning and evening by the water committees. With this project we aim to provide more inhabitants with access to drinking water by developing the drinking water sector in Congo in an efficient, just and sustainable manner. And that is where the knowledge and expertise of De Watergroep comes in handy. In addition to financial resources, De Watergroep provides the following support under this project:

  • Review and commenting on the proposal for the creation of the overarching support structure.
  • Technical support to CIDRI for expansion of the existing systems.
  • Strengthen public services in the implementation of the water code. In this context, an exchange mission is planned with a Congolese delegation for training on the structures within Flanders and De Watergroep.
  • Review and suggest improvements to the sectoral plan.


The project in facts and figures

  • Duration: 1 December 2015 to 31 March 2018
  • Parties involved:
    • Local implementing partner CIDRI (Centre d’Initition au Développement Rural en Ituri)
    • Protos
    • De Watergroep
    • Flemish authorities 
    • Flemish Partnership Water for Development
  • For whom?
    • 13 drinking water committees in Ituri
    • 58,000 new water users
    • 500,000 existing water users (through improved water service operation)
  • What?
    • Support of drinking water committees through the creation of an overarching support structure
    • Repairs on existing water networks
    • Construction of a drinking water system in Ngongo and 3 water pipelines in Mahagi
  • Project cost: €696,000