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WB Grants Uzbekistan $82 mln to Improve Water Supply

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WASHINGTON (World Bank press service) – Almost 220,000 people in Uzbekistan will benefit from a US $82 mln IDA Credit, approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors today. The Alat and Karakul Water Supply Project will improve the coverage, quality and efficiency of public water supply service in the districts of Alat and Karakul in the Bukhara region of Uzbekistan.

Along with ADB, KfW and the Swiss Cooperation, the World Bank is one the main donors in the sector. The Bank has so far financed infrastructure rehabilitation projects, such as the Water Supply, Sanitation and Health Project for urban and rural water supply in the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions, and the Bukhara and Samarkand Water Supply Project for urban water supply with establishment of PSPs.
The proposed project development objective is to improve the coverage, quality and efficiency of public water supply service in the two districts of Alat and Karakul in the Bukhara region. The objective will be achieved through the rehabilitation and expansion of water production, transmission and distribution infrastructure in urban and rural areas. The implementing agency for the Project is the Bukhara Region Water Utility, or Bukhara Region Vodokanal (BVK). An internationally recruited Implementation Consultant will support BVK in all aspects of Project implementation, including project management, engineering-design, works supervision, reporting, and technical assistance to operations. As part of the WSS sector, the Project is placed under the planning and oversight responsibility of the Uzbek Communal Services Agency or Uzkommunkhizmat. Within Uzkommunkhizmat, a Project Coordination Unit established since 2002, is responsible for managing and overseeing Bank-financed projects, and for ensuring coordination of project activities by implementing agencies.

By the time the project is completed, the network of water supply service delivery in the region will have been improved, institutional capacity of the water suppliers strengthened, and financial sustainability improved.

The two southern districts of Alat and Karakul in the Bukhara region face one of the most insecure water supply situations in the country. In the 70’s, with the growing depletion and salinization of local groundwater resources, a trunk line system was built to mobilize freshwater from the Amu-Bukhara canal, and provide potable water service to the towns of Alat and Karakul. Network coverage of rural areas was however not implemented at the time. Today, after two decades of underfunded operations and maintenance, the trunk line and urban systems are in a deep state of disrepair, functioning well below capacity, with no effective water treatment.

Nearly 80% of the districts’ population still lives in rural areas with no piped water supply, relying on unsafe water drawn from irrigation channels and saline wells, or bought at high cost from tanker trucks. The lack of access to potable water is having crippling effects on human and economic development in both the urban and rural areas of the districts, and the project is urgently needed to alleviate them. The project will combine the rehabilitation of existing water production, transmission and distribution infrastructure with the development of new networks to cover unserved rural areas.

“The Alat and Karakul Water Supply Project responds to the Government’s commitment to upgrade access and quality of water supply and sanitation services in urban and rural areas,” says Takuya Kamata, World Bank’s Country Manager for Uzbekistan. “The Project will contribute to human development and social inclusion through improved health and productivity benefits. It will also change the daily lives of women contributing to gender advancement. The project will provide benefits in increased capacity, efficiency and accountability in public service provision, thus also improving local governance outcomes for citizens”.

The Project is aligned with the 2012-2015 Country Partnership Strategy objective of supporting infrastructure efficiency and social inclusion elements.

Four main components of the project include: Improvement of Water Supply Infrastructure ($108.6 mln), Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building ($2.21 mln), Studies for Future Investments ($0.37 mln) and Project Management ($2.34 mln).

Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. The World Bank’s mission in the country is to improve people’s livelihoods through being a partner in economic reforms, supporting the modernization of the country’s social sectors and infrastructure, and sharing its knowledge and experience with the government and the people of Uzbekistan. Total current World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan amount to $812.5 mln.

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