The World Bank s Board of Executive Directors today approved an IBRD loan in the amount of US$150 million for Additional Financing for the Second National Water Supply and Sanitation Project (NWSSP 2) in Azerbaijan. The objective of the loan is to improve the quality and reliability of the water supply and to expand water supply and sanitation services in selected regional centers in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has a relatively extensive water supply and sanitation network. However, due to a lack of investment and maintenance, the quality of services has significantly deteriorated in rural regions of the country. Recently, the Government of Azerbaijan launched a program to address infrastructure deficits and to ensure financial sustainability of the sector.
This Additional Financing will complement the comprehensive Water Program implemented by the Government of Azerbaijan to improve water supply services in regions of Azerbaijan, says Henry Kerali, World Bank Director for South Caucasus. The project primarily targets the population of secondary towns and suburban villages, which are mostly rural and more vulnerable. The provision of basic public infrastructure services, such as reliable piped water supply and sanitation, would have a significant impact on the livelihoods of the rural population, and contribute to World Bank Group s twin goals to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity.
The Second National Water Supply and Sanitation Project has been under implementation since 2008, and has already helped improve the water supply and sanitation networks in three regional centers, with reliable piped water supply and sanitation services provided to more than 120,000 beneficiaries. The project has also introduced EU water supply and sanitation standards in Azerbaijan.
The additional loan will finance the scale-up of activities and expansion of coverage in Siyazan, Shabran, Aghsu, Ismayilli, Lerik, Yardimli, Masalli, and Jalibad rayons. The proposed investments would allow more people to benefit from project activities. When the project is completed in three years, 300,000 Azerbaijanis will have access to world class water and sanitation services, says Hadji Huseynov, World Bank Senior Infrastructure Specialist and project team leader.
The scope of additional activities includes more household connections, additional metering, larger capacity water and wastewater treatment plants, additional institutional modernization components, support to construction supervision and management, and other activities to scale up the successful results achieved under the Second National Water Supply and Sanitation Project.
The current World Bank investment portfolio in Azerbaijan includes 17 projects. Since joining the World Bank in 1992, commitments to the country have totaled over US$3 billion for 54 projects.