MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is investing $4 million in a new company that will help promote public-private partnerships in water supply and sanitation in the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The new company, Asia Infrastructure Project Development Company (AIPC), will help local governments develop projects in water supply, sanitation and wastewater treatment by providing feasibility assessments, planning, design and other services.
"AIPC will be an innovative one-stop shop that provides the necessary resources and expertise to identify and develop projects from the time they are being drawn up until they are completed and are being considered for public-private partnership undertakings," said Seethapathy Chander, Deputy Director General of ADB's Private Sector Operations Department.
Responsibility for water and wastewater infrastructure falls on local municipalities. However, they sometimes lack the capacity to develop detailed plans needed to attract private investors.
ADB's $4 million investment will give it a 40% stake in AIPC. Three Singaporean companies with extensive experience in water and sanitation have also invested in the venture - United Engineers Singapore Pte Ltd, Konzen Environment Pte Ltd and Crest Spring Pte Ltd.
In the PRC only about 40% of urban wastewater is treated. The rest is discharged into rivers, lakes and seas.
The Government has placed emphasis on resolving water pollution and scarcity of water under its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010). Authorities have set an ambitious target of extending water supply coverage to 95% of the population, and wastewater treatment coverage to 70% of the population, by 2010.
To do this, about $140 billion in new investments are needed in water and wastewater treatment plants and recycled water facilities - which will require the involvement of the private sector.
ADB is financing urban wastewater, sewage treatment, water supply, and water resource management projects in the PRC. Since 1992, ADB has provided more than 20 loans totaling $2.5 billion to the PRC for municipal infrastructure and environmental improvement projects.