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United Nations Environment Programme
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

2.6.2 Institutional arrangement

With few exceptions, the provision of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal is the responsibility of the public sector either through specialized water authorities or local municipalities. In Jordan, all these activities are under the auspice of the Water Authority, while in Yemen the responsibilities of the National Water and Sanitation Authority is limited only to major cities. In all other countries, the provision of wastewater management is given to the municipalities or local authorities. Major cities in Egypt run their own collection and treatment facilities and provide effluent of good quality to the Ministry of Agriculture, which directs its reuse.

In Syria, for example, the Department of Sewerage at the Ministry of Housing and Utilities is responsible for policy implementation and regulation, while construction and operation of collection and treatment are the duties of the concerned municipalities. The effluent is given to the Ministry of Agriculture for reuse.

In the West Bank, foreign donors rely heavily on NGOs in playing a major role in the improvement of the wastewater management through community participation. The involvement of the Palestine Water Authority in major infrastructure projects for cities like Gaza, Hebron, Ramallah and Nables is directed through official channels. However, NGOs are still playing a major role of management in rural areas.

Monitoring the performance of sewage treatment plants in all Gulf countries is the responsibility of the Environmental Ministries or agencies according to their pollution prevention laws. These agencies are listed in the information sources section. In Oman, it is required that each treatment plant owner should submit a monthly flow analysis showing daily records of the main characteristics of the treated effluent. In addition to that, regular inspections are done by the staff of the Ministry of Environment.

In Jordan, the responsibilities of monitoring and law enforcement are divided among the Water Authority, the Environmental Corporation and the Department of Environmental Health. The mandates of municipalities include the provision of monitoring and surveillance. In many cases, the responsibilities become confused specially for controlling those enterprises or individuals that violate disposal and reuse regulations.

Most countries have established national committees and focal points to evaluate and update regulations and standards concerning the quality of effluent used for irrigation or disposal to the water bodies. The development in legislation is not going parallel with the growing needs for wastewater treatment and reuse. Some countries use standards and specifications applied in the most developed countries like those of California, while others modify the WHO guidelines according to their own conditions.

NGOs in the region are active in some countries like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. They usually direct their programs toward lower-income population, launching public awareness programs, training of the personnel and running of small-scale projects. Their main impacts come as they act as pressure groups by raising issues of public concerns like pollution prevention, quality of water and efficiency of treatment plants. Some of the NGOs in the above countries do the monitoring job in hot spots and in affected areas.

Regional agencies like CEHA and FAO are playing a major role in adaptation of new regulations and harmonizing existing laws among countries. They also encourage the establishment of regional standards for reuse of wastewater in agriculture, industry or artificial groundwater recharge. They recommend that regional experiences with effluent reuse should be made more widely available for other countries. They also recommend that legislation should be established to advance construction of sewerage systems and treatment of the industrial wastewater before disposal.

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