ADB Increases Funding for Kyrgyz Republic Water Infrastructure Project

News Release | 4 November 2008

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is granting an additional $30 million for a project that will provide cleaner drinking water and better sanitation services to 1.5 million people in the provinces of Chui, Jalal-Abad, Osh, and Batken in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Community-Based Infrastructure Services Sector Project was initially approved in 2000, with ADB extending a $36 million loan. The additional Asian Development Fund grant will ensure completion of the project.

Sharp increases in the prices of steel, cement, pipes, and petroleum products during the project implementation period have raised the average per capita cost of constructing water supply infrastructure to $80 from $20. Climate change and drought have also limited the use of spring and groundwater near the project areas, so the water pipe networks had to be connected to distant water sources, further raising the scale and cost of the project.

"Unless additional funding is provided, many communities hoping to benefit from the project will remain without safe water supply and sanitation," said Shakeel Khan, Senior Urban Development Specialist of ADB's Central and West Asia Department.

Since the loan was approved, 118 out of 240 subprojects have been completed. The additional funding will enable the government to complete the remaining subprojects.

The project will rehabilitate existing systems and build new ones to provide better living and health conditions. It will also improve the organizational and managerial capabilities of the sector agencies. Many systems had failed because they were poorly designed and maintained.

An integrated approach has been adopted towards a sector suffering from inadequate delivery, fiscal difficulties, aging infrastructure, and institutional constraints. The project will also support the Government's objectives of decentralization, poverty reduction, and human development through communities helping themselves.

"Having to cope with poor and unsafe water and sanitation services result in large financial and social costs for the poor population. In rural areas, people often walk long distances to obtain water from untreated sources," said Mr. Khan.

Combining the ADB loan approved in 2000 and the new ADB grant, along with $16.5 million in contributions from the Kyrgyz government and beneficiaries, the total project cost now stands at $82.5 million.