Scoping Study for the Development of a Ground-water Management, Use and Protection Programme

The aim of the Scoping Study was to develop a proposal for a new Groundwater Management, Use and Protection Programme in North Macedonia through the process of co-creation with the relevant stakeholders. The intervention will have a 10-year planning horizon and fit within Switzerland’s Cooperation Programme in the country. It is expected to embrace a contemporary and holistic approach to groundwater management, encompassing all the functional requirements of regulation, stakeholder participation, monitoring, data management, planning, permitting, inspection as well as implementation and monitoring of measures in general. In particular, the new Programme will further the application and advancement of the Swiss-supported Groundwater Data Management System / National Register to grow as cooperatively nurtured and used tool for ex-changing, using, and managing groundwater-related data by all relevant actors and serving as reporting mechanism on groundwater status, pressures, and measures.



Country-wide, Republic North Macedonia

Project Period:

October 2021 – April 2022

Services Provided:

Consultancy: appraisal, program design and advice

Name of Client(s)

SDC – Embassy of Switzerland in North Macedonia

Name of Staff involved and functions performed:

Roger Schmid (Lead Consultant and Strategic/Institutional Advisor): managing consultant team, steering appraisals and conceptual developments, leading field mission and heading development of deliverables.

Description of the Project:

Groundwater is a strategic natural resource in North Macedonia: it is the basis for water supply of about 70% of its citizens. Further, in various parts of the country, irrigation largely depends on groundwater, as do important industrial activities and many ecosystem services. Population growth in some regions, urbanisation and economic development put constant pressure on the country’s groundwater. Based on current climate change projections, it is expected that this pressure would rise even more. Despite this, groundwater is insufficiently investigated, used, monitored, protected, or managed across the country.

Against this backdrop, the SDC commissioned mid-October 2021 a Scoping Study for identifying a long-term intervention in this respect. Based on the findings of an introductive desk study and an extended on-site stakeholder consultation process, the scoping study report delivered by Skat Consulting:

  • Provides an assessment of the status regarding groundwater resources (management, use, protection and monitoring) and pressures on them, the legislative framework, the competent authorities and their needs (functional analysis), and the perspectives of the principal groundwater user groups;
  • Fathoms the appropriateness and needs of the public utility companies referent to the protection of groundwater sources used for drinking water and the preparation of water safety plans;
  • Appreciates opportunities for development and innovation in groundwater resources management regarding digitalization, private sector engagement as well as academic collaboration and education

Beyond the situation analysis and assessment of needs and potentials, the report further provides a proposal regarding a phased concept for a new long-term, multi-level and systemic Programme on groundwater resources management. It does this by:

  • Orienting and envisioning the Programme along its boundary conditions, the issues proposed to be addressed, a draft intervention logic and an initial assessment of the potential drivers and restrainers regarding the envisaged change;
  • Describing promising concepts and approaches for implementation along a set of important principles and proposed interventions, as well as regarding possible phasing and modalities of implementation for the intervention, topped off by a preliminary risks assessment.