KATHMANDU, Feb 21: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expressed willingness to finance the second phase of the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) after the first phase concludes in October.
Addressing journalists in Kathmandu on Monday, ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang said that on the basis of the advancement of the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) reforms to become customer-oriented water provider, ADB was ready to extend assistance for the second Melamchi project to extend tunnel to the Yangri and Larke rivers to further augment water supply from the tunnel from 170 million liters per day (MLD) to 510 million liters per day. "This will make possible continuous supply of water to people in Kathmandu Valley, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he added.
Zhang, who is currently on a 3-day official visit to Nepal, also acknowledged the progress of the Melamchi Water Supply Project and Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Improvement Project that are likely to start delivering Melamchi water in October 2017, and agreed on maximum mutual efforts to complete the project in time.
In this connection, both sides also agreed on expediting institutional strengthening of the KUKL including the restructuring of its board and implementation of the roadmap prepared by its management, such as ICT-based automated water distribution and billing, and deployment of middle managers and additional technical staff, he added.
Zhang also renewed ADB's commitment to support Nepal to prepare long-term socio-economic development vision, strategy, and economic transformation programs toward achieving its goal of becoming a prosperous middle income country by 2030. He conveyed readiness to support critical regulatory and institutional reforms in energy sector, and associated investments such as Dudhkoshi Hydropower Project (300 MW), and modernization of electricity distribution systems in the Kathmandu Valley.
Zhang also participated in the Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2017, organized by the government and the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) on Sunday. He delivered speeches in its opening plenary attended by Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, and a business session on enablers for accelerating infrastructure investments chaired by Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak.
He is scheduled to visiting the site of Tanahu Hydropower Project in Tanahun district, and a dairy plant assisted by an ADB-funded livestock project in Kaski district on Tuesday.
During his visit, Zhang also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara, and other senior officials to discuss the overall direction of development partnership between the ADB and Nepal.
"The ADB stands ready to support Nepal in its aspirations to become a prosperous middle-income country by 2030 while achieving the Sustainable Development Goals," he said, commending that the much improved project implementation performance in 2016, achieving $358 million contract award and $201 million disbursement, both highest in ADB's operational history in Nepal, thanks to enhanced readiness of new projects and efforts to build implementation capacities including faster and more disciplined procurement and contract management.
"ADB has allocated for Nepal $843.8 million for 2017-2019," he added. "A further $356 million can be made available over the period for projects contributing to regional cooperation and integration and reduction of disaster risks and fragility, provided that Nepal continues to improve its performance of its ongoing projects."
Zhang is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation Prem Bahadur Singh, Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma and Vice chairman of the National Planning Commission Min Bahadur Shrestha on Tuesday.