DILI, TIMOR-LESTE (25 October 2022) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Timor-Leste have signed $127 million in loans to help Timor-Leste provide safe and reliable water in Dili, the capital city which is home to two-thirds of the country’s population.

“The project builds on ADB’s deep engagement in the water sector by prioritizing investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and public sector strengthening to assist in the government’s key commitment of water for all by 2030,” said ADB Country Director for Timor-Leste Sunil Mitra.

Dili’s water treatment and supply infrastructure is operating beyond its design capacity. The network is subject to high levels of leakage, which coupled with increasing exposure to climate risks has resulted in low levels of service through intermittent water supply and disruptions. The system currently provides an intermittent supply of non-potable water to 30% of Dili’s population. To meet the growing demand for an adequate and reliable supply of water, climate-resilient and energy-efficient infrastructure upgrades are required.

The project will support the development of climate-resilient infrastructure, including water treatment plants, groundwater holes, service reservoirs, and new water network mains to deliver potable water from diversified sources such as groundwater and surface water. The project will benefit 36,200 households and commercial establishments in the capital city.

The project will also enhance the operations of state-owned water services utility Bee Timor-Leste (BTL) through the adoption of a gender-sensitive and socially inclusive water services operational plan to support key functions, including customer service, human resources, long-term capital investment planning, operations and maintenance, and asset management.

“The project offers a significant package of support and reform to assist BTL’s vision in acquiring the skills to become an excellent water utility in terms of operational performance and customer service,” said BTL Executive Committee Chair and President of the Board of Directors Carlos Peloi dos Reis.

In addition, the project will support the development of water services regulatory guidelines for adoption by the government’s National Authority for Water and Sanitation. The guidelines will ensure the protection of water resources and enhance the financial sustainability of BTL.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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