ADB: $36 mln loan to water supply, sanitation Armenia
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting the Republic of Armenia provide sustainable water supply and sanitation services in seven provinces to improve public health and the environment.
ADB is extending a $36 million loan to the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project, which will cover 16 towns and 125 villages. The Government of Armenia will provide the balance of the total project cost, which is estimated at $45 million.
“The project will improve public health and the environment for about 576,000 people living in the project towns and villages, about 25% of whom live below the poverty line,” said Shakeel Khan, senior urban development specialist of ADB’s central and west Asia department. “The project will mainly focus on optimizing the operation of existing infrastructure and maximizing the operating efficiency of service providers. This will allow the project to economize the investment, achieve considerable development impacts, and ensure sustainability of the water supply and sewerage system with sound technical and financial management.”
There are two components in the project. The first will rehabilitate, improve and extend the existing networks of the water and sewerage systems. The second component will address core issues and challenges being faced by Armenian Water & Sewerage Co., municipalities and communities in efficiently managing water supply and sewerage systems. Armenian Water & Sewerage Co. is one of two main independent water supply and sewerage service operators in the country. The project covers select towns and villages under the responsibility of the company. Management efficiency will be improved by a combination of technical, financial, legal, and public outreach measures.
Enhancing the delivery of water and sanitation services has been made a priority by the government in efforts to improve the living standards of people, the environment, public health and economic opportunities.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the efficiency of water management in Armenia declined because of economic collapse, inadequate investments, and lack of management skills. Consequently, capital investments in infrastructure and operation and maintenance of water supply and sewerage systems throughout the country were neglected. Consumers faced serious problems with shortages and poor quality of drinking water and lack of wastewater disposal facilities.
At present, more than 60% of the water supply and sewerage infrastructure in 50 towns and 300 villages is in very poor condition, and about 50% of the water and sewer networks need major rehabilitation and replacement. Mechanical and electrical equipment is obsolete and the system designs and standards are outdated. Sewer pipes are broken and clogged, and wastewater treatment plants are not operating fully. Unaccounted for water ranges from 40% to 90% in various towns and villages, and most people receive water for only two to eight hours a day. Poor sanitation facilities and leaking sewers are creating serious health risks and environmental hazards.