dws-ienm-colombia-mou-schultz-henao-cardona-770pxColombian minister of housing, city and territory, Luis Felipe Henao Cardona and the Dutch minister of environment and infrastructure, Melanie Schultz Van Haegen, signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation in the areas of drinking water, sanitation and clean rivers in Colombia.

The signing ceremony took place in Bogota on 31 August.

Minister Schultz van Haegen leads a Dutch economic mission on integrated water management with representatives from 17 Dutch companies and organisations.

dws-ienm-colombia-mou-henao-cardona-schultz-silvis-350pxFrom left to right: Colombian minister of housing Luis Felipe Henao Cardona, Dutch minister of infrastructure Melanie Schultz van Haegen and mission leader Lennart Silvis, director Netherlands Water Partnership.

Desalination with wind power
"This agreement has two fundamental purposes", said Colombian minister said Henao Cardon on this occasion. "To learn about the technology to desalinate water at lower cost and with wind power. This will start with the largest project in Latin America in this area, which will be on coral islet Johnny Cay. The idea is to bring this technology also to the coastal department of Guajira."

The second objective of this memorandum of understanding is to improve Colombia's performance on pollution prevention of rivers.

Biological waste water treatment
"At this time, just 41% of all waste water is treated, and the Netherlands want to co-operate on the introduction of biological waste water treatment technology, through public-private partnerships, to intervene in the five major watersheds of the country", said the minister.

The supply of surface and ground water resources for human consumption, the treatment of domestic waste water and solid waste management, are some of the topics that are also incluced in this bilateral agreement.

dws-ienm-colombia-mou-medellin-river-350pxColombia is about to complete the Medellín River Sanitation Program that includes the construction of several waste water treatment plants.

National development plan
Minister Henao Cardona, said that this agreement fits within the strategies and challenges defined by president Juan Manuel Santos in the National Development Plan of equality, education and peace, to advance the goals.

"The cooperation between countries will help us to reduce the social and economic gaps between rural and urban, to improve the conditions of strategic areas with the highest rates of poverty, such as the Caribbean and the Colombian Pacific, contribute to green growth especially in the Andean region where most of the population is concentrated, and prepare the country for mitigation and adaptation to climate change", said the housing minister.

Colombia and the Netherlands started their cooperation on water management in 2013 and have already conducted many joint activities.

This news was originally published on the website of the Colombian Ministerio de Vivienda, Ciudad y Territorio (in Spanish).

Read also on this website
● Arcadis to lead consortium on development coastal protection master plan for Colombia, 14 July 2015
● Dutch government sends flood protection experts to landslide hit area in Colombia, 26 May 2015
● WCDRR 2015: Colombia, Japan and the Netherlands take lead in global advocacy of river deltas, 17 March 2015
● Solteq to build wind-RO desalination plant on Johnny Cay island, Colombia, 7 November 2014
● Akvo spotlights Aguayuda heroes for clean water activities in La Guajira, Colombia, 1 March 2014
● Royal HaskoningDHV wins major flood control contract for Canal del Dique, Colombia, 6 August 2013
● Colombian dike inspectors very enthousiastic about training Deltares with serious game Levee Patroller, 24 July 2012
● Country: Colombia

More information
Ministry of Infrastructure and the environment
The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 77 465 67 67

Ministry of housing, city and territory of Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia
+57 1 332 34 34