Support for water project design

Kathmandu, November 26:

Japan and the Netherlands, in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB), are helping to prepare a project design to develop the water supply and sanitation sector in small towns in Nepal.

The project is aimed at bringing the country closer to achieving the MDGs for environmental sustainability, states a Manila-headquartered regional development bank.

The preparation of the Improved Water Quality, Sanitation and Service Delivery in Emerging Towns Sector Development Programme is estimated to cost $848,000. The Netherlands, through the Water Financing Partnership Facility, is extending a $1,20,000 grant, while the Japan Special Fund is providing a $6,00,000 grant for the project.

The funds will be managed by ADB. The balance amount of $1,28,000 of the programme cost will be covered by Nepal. ADB created Water Financing Partnership Facility in 2006 to mobilise co-financing and investments from development partners for water sector of developing countries.

“Nepal has abundant water resources, but population and development pressures, competing uses and in some cases, poor water resource management, have compromised quantity, quality and access to clean water and sanitation,” said Tatiana Gallego-Lizon, urban development specialist of ADB’s South Asia Department.

While efforts by the government have raised living standards, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, with human development indicators among the lowest in the world. The country is fully committed to achieving the United Nations’ MDGs, which calls for, among others, halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation by 2015.

Progress in sanitation has been significant, with the proportion of the population with sustainable access to improved sanitation at 40 per cent in 2005, up from just six per cent in 1990. However, this remains well below the projected 2015 MDGs target of 53 per cent. The grant will help improve basic water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services in emerging small towns by providing support for strengthening policy and institutions as well as preparing a comprehensive feasibility study.