TARAWA, KIRIBATI (2 September 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $13 million grant to help provide people in the Kiribati island of South Tarawa with better access to a safe, reliable, and climate-resilient water supply.

ADB’s assistance is part of the $61.83 million South Tarawa Water Supply Project. The Green Climate Fund will provide grant cofinancing equivalent to $28.63 million, which ADB will administer. The Government of Kiribati will likewise contribute a cash contribution of $1.49 million and an in-kind provision of $5.75 million. The World Bank will also provide grant cofinancing for the project, subject to approval later this year.

“The planned improvements to the water supply through the cofinanced South Tarawa Water Supply Project will help make people healthier, as well as boost social and economic development in South Tarawa,” said ADB Pacific Urban Development Specialist Ms. Alexandra Conroy. “The new climate-resilient water supply will be sourced from a seawater desalination plant.”

South Tarawa is a highly urbanized area with a population of about 62,000. Land and potable water resources are highly stressed. The combination of overcrowding and inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene is closely linked to waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery.

Key components of the project include the construction of climate-resilient and low-carbon water supply infrastructure; capacity building enhancement for staff of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy as well as the Public Utilities Board to better manage water supply infrastructure; and an awareness campaign in the project community regarding water, sanitation, and hygiene practices. These activities are expected to contribute to the project’s sustainability.

The Project Management Unit under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy will manage and supervise the project, which is expected to be completed in 2027.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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