Improving the water quality of rivers and lakes and strengthening related public services remain major challenges for municipalities and public utilities. Although the long-awaited Water Law was recently adopted, a lack of administrative, financial and technical capacities has prevented the Government from establishing a new institutional set-up and adopting an integrated approach to its implementation. Major results achieved and remaining challenges call for a continued engagement of Switzerland as the main development partner in the water sector, in particular with regard to waste water management. In the past period, the Switzerland’s longstanding support has produced a number of positive results:
- 270,000 Macedonians (14% of the total population) have access to waste water services. Of those, 170,000 (9% of the total population) are covered thanks to considerable Swiss investments.
- Pollution discharged into Macedonia’s three main rivers, Kumanovska, Crn Drim and Bregalnica, has been reduced and purification of waste water has reached more than 90% thanks to three waste water treatment plants supported by Switzerland.
- Environmental education has been integrated into the Macedonian education system leading to increased awareness among principals, teachers and pupils.
For the actual strategy period the overall objective of this domain is to enable further progress towards meeting international water standards and requirements (e.g. European legislation).
Numerous important and inter-linked activities in support of local water and nature resource management capacities will continue in selected geographical areas of Macedonia in line with the Law on Water, Law on Drinking Water Supply and Drainage of Urban Wastewater and the National Strategy for Environmental Investments.