The all-embracing objective of the Al-Meyyah project is the transformation of the current structure of the water services in the Kingdom into a service industry that, in the long-run, provides these vital services in a cost-efficient yet socially responsive manner. At the same time ultimate focus has to be extended towards resource conservation and exploration and development of additional resources.
In order to achieve the project objective a dual approach to the project execution has been chosen that concentrates on two major targets:
1. Establishing operational principles that follow commercial practices and
2. Developing the relevant institutions into becoming effective participants in the new auditing environment.
Recent developments in the sector have successfully shown that establishment of commercial practices are possible within the current institutional and legal framework. Therefore improvement activities can be implemented without delay, focusing on necessary changes, e.g. splitting of the sector into bulk supply and distribution “businesses”, thus paving the way for private sector involvement.
In parallel initiatives, those institutional and legal requirements which would be necessary to support and enable the anticipated transformation of the sector have to be established. Basically, the achievements under purpose 1 would drive the necessary actions to be carried out under purpose 2.
Changes in the institutional / legal setup require the consent of political institutions (cabinet of ministers and parliament), therefore utmost attention has to be paid to the development of a convincing concept that ensures public support. The activities under purpose 2 need a longer lead time before actions can be taken effectively. Positive changes achieved under purpose 1 will however support the intentions under purpose 2.
Major strategic targets are therefore:
a) Assistance to WAJ’s Governorate Administrations in various fields of expertise for establishing commercial operational principles as a precondition for a change in operations from a centralized into a decentralized institutional set-up. By these means the Governorate Administrations would be enabled to assume more responsibilities, which, eventually, would foster private sector involvement in the services,
b) Establish a system of performance indicators for monitoring of performance, which – at a later stage – will be used to introduce benchmark performance standards.
c) Creation of a Water Sector Audit Unit to be in charge of the sector monitoring processes.
d) Develop a concise concept of sector reform starting with the current situation and investigating the need for the creation of an independent Regulatory Body.