ADB to Improve Water Sector in Uzbekistan's Surkhandarya Province

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is lending $30 million to help Uzbekistan provide clean water supply and sanitation services to the southern province of Surkhandarya.

The Multi-Donor Trust Fund, under the Water Financing Partnership Facility administered by ADB, will allot an additional $1.5 million grant to the project, while Uzbekistan will set aside $8.5 million to complete funding. The Multi-Donor Trust Fund is contributed by the governments of Australia, Austria, and Norway.

Deteriorated infrastructure, an outdated water sector strategy, poor standards, limited financial resources, and weak government capability are preventing Uzbekistan from providing reliable water supply and sanitation services to its people.

“The water supply and sanitation systems in Uzbekistan need extensive rehabilitation,” said Yong Ye, an Urban Economist of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department. “Providing the people with better access to safe and reliable water supply and better sanitation is a top government priority.”

Located near the border with Afghanistan, Surkhandarya was a closed province for many years, lagging behind in economic and social development. Some 28.4% of the 1.92 million people in the province live below the poverty line.

The province is one of the country’s main cotton-growing provinces with about 200,000 hectares of irrigated land. Recent developments promoting the Silk Road tourism and the construction of a new rail link have led to new growth opportunities.

While Surkhandarya’s water supply network covers 76% of its population, households are supplied with water for only 6-16 hours daily in the urban areas and 2-10 hours a day in rural areas.

The project will improve the health and living conditions of 340,000 people in the province by providing them safe and reliable water supply and sanitation services all day by 2020. Water leakage will also be brought down to less than 40% from the current estimate of over 60%.

At the national level, the project will improve the capability of the government to plan a development strategy and investment program for the water supply and sanitation sector. In addition to infrastructure investments, the project will set up an urban water supply and sanitation services model in Surkhandarya province, which will address critical management, financial, operational, and customer relations needs of water supply and sanitation agencies to improve service delivery.

A public-private partnership framework will likewise be prepared so the government can promote private sector investment in the sector.