KATHMANDU, Sept 27: The Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $130 million to improve access to community-managed water supply and sanitation in 20 urban municipalities of Nepal.
“Unmanaged rapid urban growth and lack of improved water supply and sanitation have led to environmental degradation, public health risks, rising urban poverty, and increased vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards,” said in a statement released on Thursday quoting ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist Alexandra Vogl. “Building on the experience of three previous ADB projects, the project will finance climate-resilient and accessible water supply and sanitation infrastructure and strengthen capacity in the communities and utility operators to deliver services over the long term”, says the statement.
According to the statement, the ADB has praised Nepal and has stated that the country has made strong efforts to improve access to water supply and sanitation, increasing coverage since 2000. However, in 2016, only 34% of water supply was reported to be safe and 15% met the national water quality standards, added the statement. More efforts are also needed to improve sanitation, given that only 34% of urban households have septic tanks and only 15% have sewer connections. Overall, municipalities lack funds and skilled personnel to provide cost-effective services.
Since 2000, ADB has successfully supported the government in improving water supply and sanitation services based on a community-driven cost-sharing approach in 70 small towns through three projects, introducing continuous water supply and household connections and subsidizing water services to poor and vulnerable households, the statement reads.
The new project will support the installation or repair of 1,600 kilometers of water supply pipes and 15 water treatment plants each with an estimated capacity of 600,000 liters a day. This will result in 66,000 households being connected to piped water. About 8,000 toilets will also be constructed along with 20 public toilets suitable for both genders and the disabled. Among other activities, the project will construct two wastewater treatment plants and 30 km of stormwater drainage.
The project will also prepare water, sanitation, and hygiene plans for all project municipalities; support local water user associations and committees; train staff; and carry out awareness campaigns on water conservation and hygiene behavior.
Poor and vulnerable households will be covered through subsidized connections to the piped water supply. Women will benefit in particular from less time spent on collecting and managing water and from opportunities for work, training, project consultations, and participation in the 20 water users’ and sanitation committees that will be set up.
The total cost of the project is $178.5 million, of which the government and beneficiaries will contribute $48.5 million. The targeted completion date for the project is October 2023.