ADB Helping Prepare Urban Water Supply Project for Philippines

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping prepare a project that will improve water supply and sanitation services for urban areas outside Metro Manila, the main urban center of the Philippines.

The Multi-Donor Trust Fund under the Water Financing Partnership Facility (WFPF) will provide a $1.2 million grant to fund the project preparation, while the Philippines will allot $300,000 to complete the funding requirement. The Multi-Donor Trust Fund is contributed by the governments of Australia, Austria, and Norway.

ADB set up the WFPF to support its Water Financing Program 2006-2010, which aims to deliver investment, reform, and capacity development in rural and urban water services, and river basin water management.

“The project is expected to help bring the country closer towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation,” said Rudolf Frauendorfer, Senior Urban Development Specialist of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

The MDGs are a set of global targets for combating problems including poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women.

The proposed Water District Development Sector Project will be designed to help improve living conditions for urban residents in provincial cities by developing water supply and sanitation facilities and boosting the capabilities of existing water utilities.

The project will also help further enhance the service of state agency Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), which provides water districts with financial and technical assistance.

Water districts are local companies that provide water supply and, in some cases, sanitation services within their areas of responsibility, which may include one or more cities and municipalities. As of 2005, there were 585 water districts, of which 463 were operational, serving about 14 million people, or 21%, of the 67 million living outside Metro Manila. About two-thirds of these water districts are small.

The government is currently streamlining LWUA and refocusing its lending operations to support smaller water districts. Due to limited funding access, smaller water utilities often suffer from low efficiency and poor quality of service, and are unable to expand and rehabilitate their facilities. The technical assistance will help prepare a project with ADB loan financing of up to $50 million.