ADB Helps Timor-Leste Get Better Access to Safe, Reliable Water

The Dili Urban Water Supply Sector Project provides continuous, 24-hour access to good quality water to approximately one-third of all Dili households, businesses, and institutions.

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE – The Government of Timor-Leste, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the people of Quintal Bot district participated in a special ceremony today to mark the arrival of safe, reliable water to the district for the first time in 10 years.

The Dili Urban Water Supply Sector Project provides continuous, 24-hour access to good quality water to approximately one-third of all Dili households, businesses, and institutions. Most beneficiaries come from poor or low-income households.

Gastao de Sousa, the Government’s Minister of Public Works, led the ceremony, on the outskirts of Dili. Shane Rosenthal, Resident Representative of ADB’s Special Office in Timor-Leste also spoke at the event.

“No longer do the people of Quital Bot have to purchase water from private companies or trek up to a kilometer to get water,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “Now for the first time in many areas, water is conveniently available at the front door and may be accessed by simply turning on a tap.”

The project targeted six neighborhoods with 1,000 water connections each. New local pipes were laid, water leaks were repaired, and metered water connections were installed. Neighborhood water supply caretakers will be employed by the Government’s National Directorate for Water Supply and Sanitation, and a permanent water loss reduction task force will sustain and expand the program. The project may be viewed as a model that could be extended to other areas of Dili on a larger scale.

Dili’s population is growing rapidly, but before the project’s commencement, water supply services had only been partly rehabilitated following widespread civil unrest and destruction in 1999. Although Dili has good water treatment plants, water storage facilities, and main distribution pipes, inside the city’s neighborhoods water was either stolen or mostly lost through leaky pipes.

It’s expected improved water supplies in the capital city will reduce health costs and improve productivity. The project will also improve the management of the entire Dili water supply system by refurbishing 35 distribution master meters, assessing and replacing 51 kilometers of water pipes, and replacing 2,950 household meters and 240 commercial meters.