ADB Approves $180 Million for Punjab’s Water and Sanitation Improvement

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $180 million loan to help improve the water supply and solid waste management services in two cities of Punjab province, Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur. The loan will benefit about 1.5 million people living in these cities.

The loan is part of the Developing Resilient Environments and Advancing Municipal Services in Punjab Project, which aims to reduce excessive groundwater extraction and urban environment degradation by expanding and modernising urban water supply in Rawalpindi and solid waste management systems in Bahawalpur.

According to ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov, the project will make the municipal services in these two cities more sustainable, resilient, and less carbon-intensive. He said that by providing reliable water supply and improving waste management, the project will significantly enhance the quality of life of the people in Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur.

The project will support the construction of new surface water intakes and a water treatment plant with a capacity of 54 million litres per day in Rawalpindi. It will also connect 82,000 households with metered connections to transmission and distribution pipes. Moreover, the project will upgrade water pumps and transmission mains to increase surface water supply and establish three pilot district metering areas to improve operational efficiency.

In Bahawalpur, the project will help improve solid waste collection by procuring waste collection equipment and a new fleet to expand coverage along with a new fleet management information system. The project will also build a recycling facility and a floodproof landfill and rehabilitate the existing dump site. In addition, the project will provide personal protective equipment for informal sector workers.

ADB Urban Development Specialist Xijie Lu said that the project will also enhance the operational efficiency, inclusivity, and financial sustainability of Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency and Bahawalpur Waste Management Company. He added that the project will also feature innovative components such as renewable technologies, cost-recovery interventions, and behavioral change and communication elements.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will also manage a $1 million aid package from the Republic of Korea’s e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund. This aid is meant to help the Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency improve their ability to deal with water leaks in the city’s water supply network.

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