Government allocates 1.500.000 USD to Díli Sanitation & Drainage Masterplan

Fri. 05 of November of 2010, 12:25h
Team Group Photo

The Government of Timor-Leste and the Victorian Government have been working together in the infrastructure sector in Timor-Leste since 2008.

In 2009, the Victorian Government provided support to the Task Force for the Timor-Leste National Infrastructure Plan, a strategic document developed to enable the Government to prioritise infrastructure projects and manage budget capacity and other constraints.  The plan was developed to enable the Government to respond to “changes in the opportunities and challenges faced by Timor-Leste…as part of a continuous planning process”. Water and sanitation issues, particularly in the urban setting, are one of the main components of this plan.

At the request of the Ministry of Infrastructure in Timor-Leste, an international expert group lead by the Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Steve Bracks, recently visited Díli to present a Scoping Document to the Timor-Leste Government Council of Ministers for a Díli Sanitation & Drainage Masterplan.

The Masterplan work will build on the information in the National Infrastructure Plan, address concerns from the Government regarding the recent flooding events in the country’s capital, and support the Draft Strategic Development Plan for 2030, which notes that “a poor basic sanitation system constitutes a risk to public health, reduces the country’s productivity and development, and has, equally a negative impact on the environment, tourism and in foreign investment".

The Scoping Document defines the objectives and work program for the development of a comprehensive Sanitation and Drainage Masterplan in Díli, and outlines a plan for staged implementation of improvements to sanitation and drainage, and an ultimate solution operational by 2025.

This international expert group is comprised of representatives from two of Melbourne’s largest water corporations (Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water) and other water industry experts with international experience.

Mr Rob Skinner, a representative from the international expert group and Melbourne Water Managing Director, advises that the discussions on the Masterplan held with the Timor-Leste Government last week will be the first of many.  “It is important for the Timor-Leste community and the Government to be involved in project developments every step of the way”, Mr Skinner said.

Since September this year, the Timor-Leste and Victorian Governments have been working together in a multi-national team. From Timor-Leste, national experts from the Ministry of Infrastructure’s Directorate for Water and Sanitation and other relevant Government stakeholders are involved in the project team.

Working as a multi-national team will bring use the local expertise of the Timor-Leste Government, combined with international expertise in technical issues, project management and strategic planning of water and sanitation. The team will incorporate national and international expertise to strengthen local knowledge and skills, and develop a comprehensive ‘roadmap’ (Masterplan) for improvements to sanitation and drainage issues that currently affect Timor-Leste’s capital city.

Between October to December, the multi-national project team will finalize the schedule of Masterplan activities planned for 2011.  A multi-national steering committee (international and national counterparts) will meet regularly to coordinate a multi-national on-site project team based in Díli to develop and implement the sanitation and drainage improvements developed as part of the Masterplan.

The multi-national team presented a first draft of the Scoping Document to the Council of Ministers, on 13th of October last week, including a preliminary schedule for the Masterplan.  The Masterplan will be prepared by the end of 2011, and will include a strategy for the staged implementation of the construction, operation and maintenance of Díli sanitation and drainage infrastructure between now and 2025.  The people of Díli may start seeing early construction activities in 2011.

Based on presentation on the 13th of October, the Council of Ministers has made available the sum of one million and five hundred thousand American dollars for the development of the Masterplan and some early construction activities in 2011. In-kind support from Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water, in the amount of $215,000 Australian dollars will also be provided for the delivery of the completed scoping document by December of this year, and project management and technical advice during 2011.

Mr. Rob Skinner also said, “The Timor-Leste people will be responsible for operating and maintaining this system long after the international expert group has finished working on this project. The success of the project will not only be determined by how healthy and clean the Díli environment has become, but also by the Timor-Leste people’s ability to build on the systems introduced by the Masterplan”.