The World Bank (WB) on Thursday approved $100 million loan to increase access to improved water supply and sanitation system in selected 30 municipalities in Bangladesh under the Municipal Water Supply and Sanitation Project.
About 600,000 small-town residents will get safe water through piped water supply systems under the project.
The project will install water infrastructure, including water treatment facility, water storage, transmission and distribution pipe network, house connections, and others in the selected 30 municipalities, said a press release issued by the WB on Friday.
According to the WB, in Bangladesh, about 87 percent households have access to various improved water sources, but only 10 percent people have access to piped water supply.
About half of the municipalities have basic piped water systems but these cover only a small size of population in town centres.
“With Bangladesh’s rapid urbanization, both small towns and big cities need to improve their infrastructures, including water and sanitation systems, to cater to the growing population,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“Water and sanitation systems are an integral part of a modern city. This project will contribute to the government’s goal of expanding piped water coverage in municipal areas,” she added.
The project will also help the participating municipalities improve their sanitation and drainage systems that will include investments in septage management, setting up public toilets and critical drainage infrastructure.
The project will also provide equipment and training to cleaning workers for faecal sludge management.
“To ensure governance structure and mandates of local municipalities, decentralization of institutional responsibilities is important,” said Arif Ahamed, World Bank senior water specialist and project task team leader.
“The project will support the municipalities to build capacity to install and manage water and sanitation systems. It will also help build stronger institutional and financial systems for operation and maintenance work.
“The municipalities will have the ability to form effective private-public partnership for water and sanitation services,” Arif Ahamed added.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and an interest rate of 1.25 percent with a service charge of 0.75 percent.
The project also includes $100 million financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and $9.53 million financing from Bangladesh government.
The WB is among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA programme totalling $12.6 billion.
Including the current portfolio, the WB has committed more than $30 billion in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh since its independence.