Supporting local wastewater treatment: adelphi presents recommendations for MENA countries

Over the last four years, the Sustain Water MED project has worked to enhance integrated wastewater treatment and reuse in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. adelphi has released several country-specific publications recently,  summarizing outcomes and lessons learnt.


Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia belong to some of the most water-scarce regions in the world.  All four countries have gradually invested in water reuse and decentralized wastewater treatment and adopted policies and strategies to improve the management of wastewater. Nevertheless, infrastructure to treat the wastewater produced - especially in rural areas - is still inadequate.

Against this background, the Sustain Water MED project therefore implemented four pilot projects in the MENA countries over the course of four years. The pilots aimed to demonstrate the potential of integrated wastewater management, including decentralised treatment systems, ecological sanitation, and wastewater reuse.

In order to guide planning for similar projects in the future or facilitate the replication of approaches in different contexts, adelphi has now published a comprehensive compendium and four country-specific policy briefs that summarize the outcomes and the lessons learned from Sustain Water MED.

Strengthening legal frameworks, practical responsibilities, and local capacities to promote innovative wastewater solutions

The compendium describes the local challenges faced in the context of Sustain Water MED and the technologies chosen to overcome them. In all four demonstration projects, adelphi assessed the environmental and socio-economic effects, providing decision-makers and technical staff with practical insights for further action in other regional contexts. The compendium also presents a number of good practices and highlights specific lessons learned from each pilot project. Four complementary policy briefs provide policy- and decision-makers in the relevant institutions at national and local levels with recommendations on how to create conducive framework conditions for the implementation of innovative approaches on wastewater and sanitation management in the target countries.

The compendium concludes with the following policy recommendations:

  1. Governments should adapt legal frameworks and permission procedures to facilitate the implementation of innovative pilot projects.
  2. In this context, responsibilities of local authorities must be strengthened. This includes not only a clear mandate, but also the provision of necessary capacities in terms of permission as well as monitoring, operation and maintenance of wastewater management systems.
  3. Alongside local authorities, capacities of local technology providers and construction companies must further be developed as well.
  4. Finally, responsible authorities need more practical guidance on how to select technologies adapted to local needs and how to clearly define responsibilities for operation and maintenance in order to guarantee long-term sustainability.

Both the compendium as well as the four policy briefs can be found here for free download.