Water Supply and Sanitation in Serbian Towns – Programs I, II and V

Donor: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Partners: Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure

Project period: since 2008

Challenges before the start of the programmes

  • Leaking distribution networks, old house connections and inadequate measuring systems cause water losses of 30-60%.
  • Water quality does not meet World Health Organisation standards, rivers and groundwater are heavily polluted.
  • In almost all participating municipalities, the wastewater is collected in the public sewer system and then discharged into rivers without treatment in sewage treatment plants.

The tariffs do not cover the costs and do not allow water supply companies (WSC) to maintain, modernise or extend their infrastructure.


The aim is to ensure reliable and safe water supply and sanitation at cost-covering and socially acceptable costs, and to improve the profitability and management capacity of water supply companies (WSC). The programmes consist of two phases:

  • During the first phase municipalities and their WSCs have to meet certain efficiency and performance criteria in order to qualify for the second phase.
  • The second phase involves major investments in the rehabilitation and expansion of water supply facilities and the connection of new parts of the city / community to the central system.


  • 17 municipalities / WSCs have qualified for the investment phase: Kraljevo, Loznica, Pančevo, Šabac, Smederevo, Sombor and Vršac. (Program I); Aleksinac, Jagodina, Leskovac, Pirot, Trstenik, Vranje (Program II); Knjaževac, Kikinda. Paracin and Kikinda (Program V)
  • All WSCs have introduced cost-covering prices, including a budget of 20 Euros per house connection for maintenance.
  • All 17 WSCs have increased their fee collection efficiency to over 87%.
  • The WSC is able to provide more than 1.1 million people with hygienically safe drinking water in the long term.
  • Under Programmes I and II, more than 200 work, supply and service contracts have been awarded to Serbian companies, equivalent to approximately 80% of all contracts. This contributed to local economic development.
  • Project planning and implementation capacities have been improved in line with international standards.
  • A contribution to EU accession has been made.

Implemented by