The World Bank and UNDP organized a webinar today, July 1, 2020, on the topic “Water Service Reforms in BiH” via a video link. Participants in this online event were representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management from FBiH and RS, the World Bank, UNDP, the association “Vodovodi Republike Srpske”, ie. team for the improvement of water services in front of the Association, the Association of Utility Companies of FBiH, and the Association of Municipalities and Cities from FBiH and RS.

Representatives of the RS Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, the RS Ministry of Local Government and the RS Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and Ecology analyzed the BiH Water Services Modernization Program and RS Implementation Principles, supported by the World Bank and in cooperation with representatives of the Federation of Municipalities and Cities. RS and the Association “Vodovodi RS” concluded that the planned activities could result in the envisaged goals and create an environment that would modernize the water services sector.

The proposed program will focus on three comprehensive result areas, namely:

1. introduction of institutional, legal and regulatory changes at the entity level with the aim of modernizing and improving the favorable environment of the water services sector;

2. various activities and incentive structures for improving the provision of water services at the local, municipal level and levels of water service providers;

3. Improving access, quality, and efficiency of water supply and sewerage services for citizens by the service provider.

The proposed Program will be financed through a World Bank loan and aligned with existing projects and available financial resources, and co-financed with grants from other international financial institutions, funds, and bilateral donors. The competent institutions at the entity level will implement this program together with local communities and their water utilities. The planned duration of the Program is the period 2021-2028. years. The program elements are currently in the preparation phase, and the expected effect is in the first half of 2021. The proposed program will take place through three stages, two of which can take place in parallel and relate to the modernization of the institutional and regulatory framework for the provision of water services. In the third stage, infrastructure works will be supported which will improve the access, quality and efficiency of water services, based on the qualitative performance of water service providers.

Expected benefits of the proposed Program:

1. Benefits of supporting Government reform of the water services sector: self-sustaining water service providers that have the size and capacity to provide safe water services; improved services for consumers at an efficient price of water services; reduction of operating costs of water services;

2. Benefits of improvement and modernization of distribution networks: reduction of water losses, infiltration into collectors and reduction of the effluent of existing capacities of wastewater treatment plants, as well as the input parameter for dimensioning of newly planned devices;

3. Benefits of investing in efficiency: conservation of natural resources, reduced energy consumption, process automation