|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
||The Project will develop a sustainable water supply system in Khulna city, adapting to expected climate change impacts. Khulna city relies on groundwater and the project will introduce surface water as main water source to avoid excessive groundwater abstraction. Based on a study on climate change impacts, the design of facilities will be climate-proof, taking into consideration the increasing salinity intrusion along rivers due to sea level rise. The project will also strengthen corporate management system of KWASA, which has been recently established.
Water supply in Khulna. Citizens in Khulna have been suffering from limited access to water supply services. Out of approximately one million of population, only 17% has access to piped water supply, and the rest resorts to alternative sources, such as shared public taps and tube wells built privately. The existing system is old and poorly maintained, resulting in substantial leakage and low quality of water. A survey shows that even households connected to the network enjoy the water supply only for 5.3 hours per day, and 74% of households find the supplied quantity insufficient. As for water quality, 59% of the surveyed household perceived the supplied water as dirty, and 55% rate the service standard as very poor or poor. Many unconnected households rely on shared public taps and spend on average 90 minutes to fetch water everyday, imposing a particular burden on women who often fetch water for the whole family. The project will expand the access to water supply service by building a surface water treatment plant and extending the distribution network to cover the whole city.
Water resource management and climate change impacts. Currently, Khulna city relies entirely on groundwater for water source. Further abstraction of groundwater to meet increasing demand may undermine the sustainability of groundwater resource as experienced in Dhaka. The project will use surface water as main source to avoid unsustainable groundwater abstraction. Khulna locates in the coastal belt of Bangladesh, and rivers near the city are already affected by salinity intrusion. Expected sea level rise due to climate change will exacerbate the salinity intrusion along the rivers. ADB conducted a study to simulate climate change impacts in Khulna and develop adaptation strategy. The results of the study are reflected in the project design, especially in locating the intake of surface water, to make the project climate-proof. Groundwater resource is also being assessed in detail, and the project will support its sustainable management. A recent sector assistance program evaluation pointed out that unregulated groundwater abstraction lowers groundwater tables in many cities. Private wells will be registered and charged with annual fee to regulate abstraction of groundwater. Groundwater and surface water will be used conjunctively to ensure environmentally-sustainable and economically-efficient water resource management.
Establishing KWASA. The Government of Bangladesh (the Government) has established the Khulna Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (KWASA) in February 2008. KWASA is the third Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) in the country, following the Dhaka WASA and the Chittagong WASA. The Khulna City Corporation (KCC) was directly responsible for water supply service in Khulna, until the physical assets and the staff were separated and transferred to the newly established KWASA. While the KWASA has been legally established, further efforts are required to develop it into a capable water utility with proper corporate governance, competent human resources, and effective financial management system.
ADB's support and opportunity. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been playing a major role in urban water supply and sanitation sector in Bangladesh. ADB led the formulation of the Joint Partnership Framework (JPF) for urban water supply and sanitation, which was signed in 2007 with the Government and major development partners. As KWASA is a newly-established organization and establishing itself with new personnel and systems, it is opportune to provide adequate support to develop it into an efficient water utility which can serve as a model in Bangladesh. ADB initiated support to the KWASA in 2009 through SSTA 7223: Supporting the establishment of KWASA (the SSTA). The SSTA successfully carried out a series of activities including diagnostic analysis, willingness-to-pay survey, and preparation of the balance sheet. PPTA 7385: Preparing Khulna Water Supply Project (the PPTA) further supports the KWASA in developing five-year business plan and assessing groundwater resource for its sustainability. The project will continue institutional development of KWASA, especially establishment of corporate management system for effectively implementation of the business plan.
Development partnership. A unified policy matrix was developed as the road map for reform and development partners' support. The policy matrix was discussed at the joint review meeting of the JPF, and was shared among the Government and development partners in March 2010. The policy matrix will serve as the common platform to monitor the progress of policy actions. Within the framework the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) plans to co-finance the project, and commissioned an engineering feasibility study. Co-financing the project is among the conclusions and lessons in a sector assistance program evaluation, as a way to scale up assistance in the sector. ADB has been closely coordinating its support with JICA, including joint missions.
Context in country programming. The project is listed among 2011 lending pipelines in the Country Operation and Business Plan Bangladesh (2011-2013). The project will directly contribute to the operational strategies in the Country Strategy and Program (2006-2010), namely social development through better access to clean drinking water. The project will complement the planned improvement of drainage under the City Region Development Project for better urban environment.