On 16-20 July 2018, representatives of LPAs from Cahul and Leova rayons, of water supply and sewage (WSS) operators from the two rayons and managers of WSS projects carried out a study visit to Satu Mare, Romania.  The aim of the event was to take over best practices and exchange experience in the field of inter-municipal cooperation in the WSS sector. The visit was organised and supported by the ‘Modernization of Local Public Services in the Republic of Moldova’ project, implemented by the German Development Cooperation through GIZ with logistical support of S.C ‘Apaserv’ Satu Mare.

In the first two days (16-17 July), the delegation met with the representatives of regional operator S.C ‘Apaserv’ Satu Mare, local public administration of Carei municipality and Tasnad town. Also, the participants visited the drinking water treatment plant from Doba commune. At the meetings, the representatives of regional operator S.C. ‘Apaserv’ told the participants about the water supply and sewage services in the Satu Mare county based on the example of Carei municipality, the aim of the WSS service delegation contract, development of WSS services in Carei municipality and about the methods and approaches related to reduction of losses.

On the third day (18 July), the delegation from the Republic of Moldova visited the Negresti-Oas town where they met the representatives of local public administration, of the ADI (Association for Intermunicipal Development) and of the regional operator S.C. ‘Apaserv’. The latter spoke on the corporative governance of the WSS company, where the state or a territorial-administrative unit is a single or majority shareholder and on the development of WSS services in Negresti-Oas town. Afterwards, a visit was made to the wastewater treatment plant from Livada commune.

Aurelia Fedorca, mayor of Negresti-Oas: ‘For us the biggest challenge was to deal with people, persuade them by means of information and raising awareness campaigns regarding the need to pay taxes for a quality water supply and sewage service. Talk to people!…’.

On the fourth day (19 July), meetings were organised with the representatives of Municipality and County Council of Satu Mare, of the ADI (Association for Intermunicipal Development) and of the regional operator S.C. ‘Apaserv’. Also, the delegation took part in a meeting of County Council of Satu Mare, where two new localities were voted as members of ADI. Further, representatives of S.C. ‘Apaserv’ and ADI made a presentation regarding the development of WSS services regionalisation, methods of reducing water losses and challenges, problems the regional operator from Satu Mare county faced.

Darius Bor, financial director ‘Apaserv’: ‘The most important principle in the regionalisation is that of solidarity. You will not succeed if solidarity will not be put first… The knowledge bears fruit only when it is shared’.

Csaba Pataki, chairman of County Council Satu Mare: ‘Implement and use new technologies, even if they would cost you more in the beginning. Further, in the maintenance you will have only to gain from this, without big expenditures to ruin you as an organisation’.

On the last day of the study visit (20 July) the delegation made a visit to two localities in Hungary: Nyírbátor and Nyíregyháza. There, they met the representatives of WSS regional operator ‘Nyírségvíz’ and its director presented information on the regionalisation of WSS services in Hungary, tariffs in the WSS field and on the activity of regional operator ‘Nyírségvíz’.

Attila Németh, vice mayor of Nyírbátor town: ‘Ten years ago, in 2007 we delegated the activity related to water supply and sewage to the regional operator. And now as I look back, I think, this was the best thing the municipality has done as these services have to be dealt with by qualified people from the concerned field’.

Istvánné Szabó, director of „Nyírségvíz”: ‘Informing and public relations is the biggest priority for us. People are the main element in providing quality water supply and sewage services’.

Victoria Ciobanu, MLPS local manager/WSS Cahul: ‘The visit was very efficient, as it will help us to implement successfully the activities under the WSS projects, in particular the ones related to inter-municipal cooperation. With the experience and knowledge we have gained, we plan to initiate in the nearest future a tighter bilateral cooperation between S.C. ‘Apaserv’ Satu Mare and S.A. ‘Apa-Canal’ Cahul. This will be discussed at the meetings of the Administration Board of S.A. ‘Apa-Canal Cahul and of Local Steering Committee of MLPS/WSS Cahul’.

Eugen Mutaf, mayor of Iargara town, Leova rayon: ‘The experience we have gained during this study visit gives us hope that the project which is under implementation and which is financed by the German Government will facilitate the communication and the procedure of delegating the WSS services from Iargara to the S.A. ‘Apa-Canal’ Leova operator’.

The project ‘Modernization of Local Public Services in the Republic of Moldova’ (MLPS) is implemented by the German Development Cooperation through GIZ in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment and is financially supported by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union, the Romanian Government, the Swedish Government and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).