€71.7 million from the EU, Germany and Switzerland for water and sewerage systems in Fier, Saranda, Lushnja, Lezha Berat, Kuçova, Kamza and Korça (21/03/2012)
Tirana, 20 March, 2012
€71.7 million from the EU, Germany and Switzerland for water and sewerage systems in Fier, Saranda, Lushnja, Lezha Berat, Kuçova, Kamza and Korça
Five Financing and Loan Agreements were signed today with the Albanian Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and the Water and Sewerage authorities of Fier, Saranda, Lushnja, Berat, Kuçova, Kamza and Korça to improve the regularity and quality of water supply, and sewerage disposal systems for the citizens of these cities. The agreements, funded jointly by the EU, German Government and Switzerland will be implemented by the German KfW Bank Group. The total amount of the agreements is €71.7 million, and includes a grant of €25.5 million from the EU.
Water management is of fundamental importance for the quality of life of citizens as it directly impinges upon public health, agriculture and economic activity. The water and sewerage systems in Albania have not kept apace with modernisation and demographic change. Currently, the drinking water supply network remains largely old and not properly maintained, and treatment of wastewater is limited with only two operational wastewater treatment plants in the country in Pogradec and Kavaja. Four new plants have been completed, but are not yet operational (Vlora, Saranda, Durrës and Lezha). Also, as the Progress Report of 2011 noted, there is still no plan to identify sensitive areas and assess their water quality, including the quality of wastewater discharged by industrial plants; the National Strategy for Water Supply and Sewage and the Water Law has not yet been adopted; and the legal framework for the water sector does not yet meet EU standards. Through these agreements, the EU, the German and Swiss governments are assisting Albania to ensure reliable water supply and safe drinking water for middle cities in Albania and enable the utilities to set tariffs that cover their operative cost and are socially affordable. The agreements open the way to the construction of transmission mains and of a new water treatment plant in Kamza; the rehabilitation and extension of water supply networks; the construction and rehabilitation of reservoirs; the installation of water meters; and rehabilitation and contraction of sewerage.
During the signature ceremony, the Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi noted the importance of these agreements for better living standards in Albania and better tourism. He emphasised that “The works to be implemented under these agreements are large and will take until 2015 to be completed. These works will not be sufficient progress for this period. We trust that as these works go on, Albania will upgrade water management in its policy agenda at the central and local level. Failing to do so will only increase future remediation costs”.
German Ambassador to Albania Carola Müller –Holtkemper emphasised that “the projects for which we sigh agreement today will not only improve the water supply and sewerage network in several Albanian municipalities; they will also support the local utilities with improving their financial and technical performance”.
The European Union has been assisting Albania’s development and EU integration process since 1991 through grants totalling €1.4 billions and covering diverse needs such as infrastructure, water, agriculture, justice, police, rule of law and public administration among other sectors. The water sector is of particular importance to protect the environment, the health of the citizens, and ensure sustainable development of all economic sectors, including tourism.
The water supply and sewerage sector is a focal point of the German Financial Cooperation with Albania and more than €271 million have been committed by Germany since 1988 when German cooperation with Albania began.
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