ADB to Help Rehabilitate Drinking Water and Sanitation in Two Uzbekistan Provinces

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Around 250,000 rural residents in Uzbekistan will have access to safe drinking water and sanitation through a project to rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure in two provinces, backed by a US$25 million ADB loan.

The project will help improve living conditions and public health in about 170 villages in Kashkadarya and Navoi provinces, rehabilitating and upgrading piped water supply systems, building public and school latrines, and improving wastewater drainage facilities. Some 12 subprojects will be carried, out covering clusters of up to 20 villages comprising an integrated water supply system and improved sanitation facilities.

About 30% of people live below the poverty line in the two provinces. Recent surveys show that 70% of the provinces' villages do not have a formal piped water supply system.

In rural areas, people often have to walk long distances only to obtain contaminated water from untreated sources. There are few wastewater collection systems, and the waste disposal infrastructure is below acceptable standards.

Uzbekistan's water supply and sanitation facilities are often poorly designed, inadequately maintained, and in a poor state of repair. Rural water supply has particularly deteriorated due to budget cuts, leading to, high incidence of waterborne diseases among the residents.

In addition to building physical infrastructure, the project will also promote institutional development, which includes a training program for central and local government staff and other stakeholders to efficiently plan, implement, operate and maintain the new systems. It will also conduct a hygiene and sanitation education program, to improve understanding of the close interrelationship between hygiene, water, sanitation, and health among the local population.

The project supports several principal elements of ADB's Water for All policy, including promoting a national focus on water sector reform; improving and expanding water service delivery; fostering water conservation and increasing system efficiencies; improving governance through decentralization and capacity-building.

The estimated total project cost is $36 million, of which $10.1 million will come from the national government and $900,000 from the provincial and district governments and communities.

ADB's loan, from its concessional Asian Development Fund, carries a 32-year term, including a grace period of eight years. Interest is charged at 1% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% per annum subsequently.

The project loan will be executed by the Uzbekistan Communal Services Agency over five years to the end of 2010.