Water – A vital resource under threat

Mother and daughters operating a handpump in Chainpur in Nepal. The pump not only supplies the family with water but also waters the vegetable garden. © Panos/Caroline Penn Caroline Penn/Panos

Global pressure on freshwater resources is mounting: demand is rising in spectacular fashion while availability, by definition, remains limited. One of the challenges of the 21st century is to manage this vital resource and ensure an equitable distribution of water that promotes development.  

Population growth, urbanisation, climate and land-use change, and economic development all have a direct impact on water resources. Distributing water between users while guaranteeing social equality, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability is a key development issue. The SDC has been active in the water sector for more than 30 years. Its efforts address a number of different aspects: social issues, the environment, the economy, institutions, technology and know-how.

Sustainable management

The SDC advocates the valuation of water in economic activities and transboundary cooperation on international water basins

International priority

The SDC is campaigning to have water security included among the sustainable development objectives and priorities on the post-2015 agenda

Universal access

The SDC works to guarantee access to water for human beings and ensure the availability of sufficient water for food production

Water – an element of security

The FDFA's lines of action on water and security, known as the Swiss toolbox, are a response to the challenge of increasing global demand for water.

SDC dedicated website on water

Specialist information (news, documents, instruments, methods) on knowledge exchange and cooperation with partners and experts.



Current projects

Object 61 – 72 of 92

Contribution to the Improvement of Water and Sanitation Services through Integrated Regional Planning in Moldova

10.06.2014 - 30.06.2018

Many localities in Moldova suffer from low level of water and sanitation public services. By joining the ongoing “Modernization of local public services“ program designed to reduce regional disparities in service delivery, SDC has the opportunity to up-scale its successful decentralized water and sanitation models through integrated regional platforms. SDC will support the water supply infrastructure in 3 villages in the south of Moldova and the capacity building of local and regional water supply service providers.

Core Contribution to the Earth Security Initiative (ESI)

01.05.2014 - 31.03.2018

The Earth Security Initiative (ESI) is a new innovative platform created to develop and advocate resource governance from an inter-dependence perspective, to provide a new way of seeing the security implications of resource scarcity, and to develop new tools and strategies aiming to mobilize government policy-makers, the private sector and civil society to work together on improving sustainable resource governance across silos.

Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation related SDG targets (GEMI)

15.04.2014 - 30.06.2018

Water scarcity and declining water quality are a problem in almost all countries. More comprehensive information on their current status and trends would enable Member States to better make evidence-based development decisions for sustainable development, management and use of sanitation and water resources. The 6th Sustainable Development Goal of the 2030 Agendawill provide a unique opportunity to address the multiple and growing challenges associated with sustainable water and sanitation. This includes the need for a coherent and holistic monitoring framework with improved data acquisition and the analysis to track progress.

Information management system on geogenic contaminants

01.04.2014 - 31.12.2017

An estimated 200 million people worldwide, roughly 5% of those who use groundwater for drinking, are exposed to elevated concentrations of arsenic or fluoride (geogenic contaminants), whose health effects are severe. This initiative, proposed by Eawag, aims to reduce disease caused by geogenic contamination through awareness creation among government institutions and donors. An interactive knowledge hub will provide global maps for arsenic and fluoride, and expertise for data analysis and recommendations for action. There will be active capacity building in selected affected hub countries in Asia and Africa.

Strengthening Agricultural Water Efficiency and Productivity on the African and Global Level

01.04.2014 - 31.12.2018

Enhancing agricultural water efficiency and productivity is imperative to mitigate water scarcity and to in-crease food security and income of small-scale farmers in the developing world. Implemented through FAO and the Partnership for agricultural water for Africa, the project will establish evidence based policy, good practice and investment in sustainable agricultural water management in Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Morocco as well as globally by linking catalytic activities to policy processes (e.g.to the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme).

China: Groundwater Rehabilitation under a changing climate

15.03.2014 - 31.03.2018

In the past 30 years the aquifers in the semi-arid North China Plain have been greatly overexploited. Climate change is increasing the drought problem. The project assesses measures to establish a long-term balanced regional water budget by water imports and water saving and applies complementary use of precipitation, surface water and groundwater. The system is based on real-time monitoring of groundwater tables and pumping rates and controlling pumping wells via a quota system. The insights of this project can be applied also in other countries.

Strengthening the Institutional Framework in the Water and Sanitation Sector in Moldova

01.03.2014 - 31.08.2019

Poor governance is the key bottleneck in the Moldovan water sector, which jeopardizes long-term sustainability of past investments, and hinders new Investments to extend access to drinking water for all. With this project, SDC will improve the steering and management of the sector as well as the performance of key sector institutions, through working directly with the national institutions on sector capacity development, integrated water resource management, and a comprehensive water information system.

Scaling Up Productive Water

01.02.2014 - 28.02.2018

Access to affordable productive water technologies disseminated by International Development Enterprises (IDE) through setting up sustainable local supply chains have proven to impact incomes and water productivity of over 300'000 small farmers so far. The project in phase 2 will make the regional programs sustainable and allow them to grow further, building strong linkages with financial services. It will develop and disseminate tools to use water in an efficient and sustainable way, and make suitable technologies and dissemination approaches available for replication globally.

Jinsha River Basin (JRB): Integrated Water Resources and Risk Management under Changing Climate

01.02.2014 - 31.12.2017

The effects of climate change on the Yangtze River are crucial for the economy, food production, livelihood safety and ecosystems of about one third of China’s population. The present project studies the Jinsha River Basin in the upper Yangtze, where glacier and climatic variability greatly influence the water regimes, and measures are needed for a sustainable, integrated water management, catering for hazard and water management, hydroelectricity and agricultural production, as well as biodiversity and human wellbeing, in the coming years.

Small Irrigation Prorgamme (SIP)

01.02.2014 - 28.02.2019

Incidence of poverty in irrigated areas of Nepal is half that in rain-fed areas and access to irrigation water contributes thus to mitigate poverty. Since the marginal lands are better accessible through small irrigation schemes, reducing poverty of smallholder farmers through small irrigation systems [1] are more effective than medium-sized or large systems. SIP will not only help increase their agricultural productivity but will also enhance the capacity of national and local government so that they can respond to these needs.

[1] Small-scale irrigation, defined by the GoN's irrigation policy as command areas smaller than 25 ha in the hills and mountains and 200 ha in Terai.


Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in the Fergana Valley, Tajikistan

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2018

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) was engaged in the Fergana valley both in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan with the Regional Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project since 2007. Due to difficulties in implementing regional projects in Central Asia, SDC decided in 2012 to develop two separate country projects with a regional view. The overall objective of the project is to improve the rural population’s health and livelihood with sustainable safe drinking water and sanitation facilities as well as with the development of training for better household hygienic behavior.

Object 61 – 72 of 92