Residents of the southern city of Nookat in the Kyrgyz Republic will have access to safe drinking water and better sanitation thanks to the latest water-supply improvement project financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) and Japan.
The city’s water infrastructure, vital in the face of public health challenges such as the Covid-19, will be improved by way of a joint €4.2 million investment, including a 15-year EBRD loan of €2.2 million and an EU capital grant of €2.0 million.
Nookat urgently needs to improve its outdated water supply network; the financing will help it replace water pipes, install water meters and fire hydrants and purchase specialised equipment and vehicles for system maintenance. It will also support the renovation of water disinfection systems and the construction of an energy-efficient pump station.
In addition, Japan will provide a grant of €600,000 to boost technical expertise and improve corporate practices, including accounting and operational management, at the municipal utility.
These improvements will enable the city’s water company to increase its customer base from the current 10,000 users to 26,000 and become a financially sustainable enterprise, capable of maintaining the water system, delivering safe drinking water and improving the personal hygiene of users for decades to come.
The company will also reduce water and energy losses, saving around 1.65 million cubic metres of drinking water and 93,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This will, in turn, improve the city’s resilience to climate change and optimise the company’s operating costs.
The EBRD has invested in 24 water and wastewater improvement projects in the Kyrgyz Republic, worth over €187 million, including €72 million worth of loans and €115 million in grants, mainly from the EU and the government of Switzerland. The EBRD has launched a response and recovery package, which includes a Vital Infrastructure Support Programme, recognising the critical role of maintaining key infrastructure services.
From 2014 to 2020, the EU supported the Kyrgyz Republic with €174 million of financing in areas such as education, integrated rural development and the rule of law. During the same period, the EU provided €90,5 million in grants to support investments, mainly in the water sector.
To date, the EBRD has invested a total €795 million through 191 projects in the Kyrgyz Republic, with the majority of investments supporting private entrepreneurship.