Rural Water and Sanitation Support Programme in Kosovo

Project completed

Since 2005, the Swiss Rural Water and Sanitation Support Programme has provided better access to safe drinking water and sanitation to 474’000 people living in rural areas. By further strengthening the capacities of the water companies and their oversight bodies and with targeted infrastructure investments, the RWSSP exit phase will contribute to a sustainable and socially inclusive provision of high-quality water and sanitation services. For the first time the program will include the Northern municipalities of Kosovo.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water sanitation
01.01.2018 - 31.10.2022
CHF  7’672’000
Background Coverage of water services has improved over recent years in Kosovo, principally through the development of rural water systems funded substantially by the Swiss government with additional support from local communities, municipalities and the Government of Kosovo. This has led to an overall coverage of the population by a licenced and regulated water supplier of 90%. However because all urban centres have 100% coverage, it means that coverage in some rural communities falls short of this figure. Coverage of wastewater services remains poor in both rural and urban areas of Kosovo with limited treatment facilities available. Low capacities and high water losses in general challenge the sustainability of the utilities.
Objectives The public utilities (Regional Water Companies RWCs) with their state oversight institutions (Water Service Regulatory Authority WSRA, National Institute of Public Health NIPH) progress towards universal access by providing high quality water and sanitation services together with improved sustainability and governance of water and energy resources, thereby contributing to better living conditions for the population.
Target groups
  • About 35’000 people from rural areas including social excluded community groups and four Northern Municipalities
  • The institutions responsible for water service provision: The seven Regional Water Companies (RWCs) and their association SHUKOS, Ministry of Economic Development MED and the municipalities
  • Economic, environmental and water quality regulators of the water services: WSRA, MESP and NIPH
Medium-term outcomes
  • People in supported areas benefit from universal access to safe water supply and sanitation services provided by public utilities.
  • The institutions of the Kosovo water services sector (RWCs, WSRA, and NIPH) provide sustainable safe water supply and sanitation services to all citizens in compliance with the objective of universal access, taking into account environmental issues.

Expected results:  

  • New and upgraded rural water systems in Northern municipalities and other municipalities in Kosovo and their integration into RWCs.
  • RWCs have developed plans for achieving universal access in their service areas, selected measures of the plans implemented
  • Quality Management based procedures implemented in rural networks
  • Processes to reduce non-revenue water (NRW) internalized by RWCs
  • Water quality management improved in all RWCs
  • Capacities of RWCs for water source protection and management of rural wastewater treatment improved
  • Increased energy efficiency measures included in RWC operations and increased use of renewable energy sources
  • Implementation of customer strategies including social inclusion
  • Water quality monitoring by NIPH expanded to small (rural) supply zones
  • Improved oversight of RWC performance by WSRA

Results from previous phases:  

From 2005 until end of 2017, 259’000 people in 177 villages belonging to all municipalities of Kosovo (northern municipalities not included) gained access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Additional 215’000 people in 180 villages benefitted from rehabilitated water systems.

In phase V i.a. the following results have been achieved:

  • More than 115,000 people living in rural areas gained access to new water systems, which were integrated into RWC operations and management. Additional 215’000 people benefitted from rehabilitated systems.
  • RWCs have better capacities to improve their revenues, to manage investments, and to operate rural water systemsSeven minority municipalities have integrated water systems into respective RWC operations.
  • WSRA has improved water services oversight and NIPH has started reporting on drinking water quality monitoring.

However, long term sustainability of Kosovo’s water and sanitation supply and universal access to these services is not yet ensured. There remains a need for further capacity building of RWCs and national sector institutions as well as for targeted infrastructure investments.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North

Other partners
The Government of Kosovo and respective Ministries, the Spatial Planning, Water Service Regulatory Authority, the National Institute of Public Health, and concerned municipalities.
Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Support to the Inter-Ministerial Water Council (SECO);
  • Democratic Governance and Decentralisation (SDC);
  • Urban Wastewater projects (SECO);
  • Other international sector donors.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’672’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    7’364’399
Project phases

Phase 6 01.01.2018 - 31.10.2022   (Completed)

Phase 5 01.11.2013 - 30.06.2018   (Completed) Phase 4 01.01.2011 - 30.06.2014   (Completed)