Press Release | South Africa and The Netherlands continue their cooperation in the water sector by working towards a “Blue Deal” and launching Hydronet

[27 February 2019]. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in conjunction with Netherlands Embassy will be hosting a roundtable discussion in support of the Blue Deal South Africa Initiative: Clean and sufficient water for all under the theme: Tackling water challenges through bilateral partnerships. The roundtable discussion takes place on 27 February 2019 in Pretoria.

The discussion, which will be moderated by two young South African water professionals, takes place within the agreed framework of the renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between South Africa and the Netherlands on Water and Sanitation, which already resulted in strong partnerships and the exchange of knowledge in many areas such as integrated water resources management, youth empowerment and urban water innovations. Currently, DWS and the Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) are working towards a new ‘Blue Deal Programme’, while also implementing ‘HydroNET’: a web-based decision support service that provides intelligent solutions for operational and strategic water management.


The Dutch Blue Deal Programme (2018- 2030) aims to support Regional and National governments worldwide and to strengthen Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) by enhancing knowledge and expertise, well- functioning organisations and cooperation with key stakeholders. The ambitious goal of the Blue Deal is to assist twenty (20) million people in forty (40) catchment areas around the world to gain access to clean, sufficient and safe water. “The need for collaboration in improving water management has never had more relevance given the current situation across the world. This partnership between South Africa and the Netherlands has already been proven mutually beneficial. Through sharing experiences and developing joint projects, we can co-create a more water secure future.” says Han Peters, Ambassador of the Netherlands in South Africa

The specific focus areas for the Blue Deal South Africa Programme are based on the National Water & Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP). As such, the Programme aims to make a real contribution for people with no access to safe sanitation, for emerging farmers who have insufficient access to water and towards rivers and wetlands that are in a poor ecological condition amongst others. The impact for the Blue Deal South Africa Programme is expected to ensure that 2.5 million people in at least three (3) Water Management Areas in South Africa have better access to clean & sufficient water by the end of 2030.

HydroNET will also be launched at the roundtable, a web-based decision support service that provides intelligent solutions for operational and strategic water management. The application provides the Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) and proto Catchment Management Agencies with easy access to a wealth of essential hydrological and meteorological data. HydroNET is a co-creation between the Dutch organization Hydrologic, DWS, SAWS, the CMAs and the Dutch Water authorities and empowers water decision-makers to use data for decision-making and reduce the risk of a crisis. 

Bilateral water cooperation

The cooperation between South African Water Institutions and the Netherlands started almost fifteen (15) years ago with some ‘drops of inspirations’. The first bilateral MoU between DWS and the Netherlands was signed in 2013 and resulted in strong partnerships:

  • the Kingfisher I & II Programme (2013- 2016, 2017- 2018) extended its support to nine to be established Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs).
  • The new Blue Deal South Africa Programme will be built on experiences of the Kingfisher programme, and is expected to ensure that 2.5 million people in at least three (3) Water Management Areas in South Africa have better access to clean & sufficient water by the end of 2030.
  • Youth empowerment by training young water professionals from South Africa and the Netherlands working on solutions for local challenges and building an international alumni network through the Wetskills programme
  • The Orange Knowledge Programme focusses on strengthening on-the-job skills and innovations in the water sector, working with municipalities and universities (DUT, UCT) 

UN High Level Panel on Water

The MoU between the Netherlands and South Africa is also an extension of the commitment and contribution to the 2030 UN Agenda, which seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). The Netherlands and South Africa are two of the eleven countries in the UN High Level Panel on Water. This panel works on recommendations to value water.


About Dutch-South African water relations

The Netherlands is a world leader in managing water and one of South Africa’s top five investing partners. With its centuries of water management experience, the Netherlands is one of the best-protected deltas in the world and invests billions to mitigate the effects of climate change. South Africa and the Netherlands renewed the Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 to facilitate cooperation on water management. The focus is on integrated water resource management, water efficiency, re-use and climate change adaptation.

About #cocreateSA

#cocreateSA is a platform for South African and Dutch counterparts to exchange ideas and innovations for a sustainable future. It stimulates collaboration between South Africa and the Netherlands based on the belief that if we work together, we can make a difference and co-create solutions for local challenges. #cocreateSA is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

For more information on the Dutch water mission to South Africa, please contact:

For more information on the relation between DWS and the Netherlands, please contact:


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