EBRD, EU help improve water services in Kyrgyzstan’s small municipalities

BISHKEK (TCA) — More than 40,000 people living in small municipalities in Kyrgyzstan will benefit from a regular water supply and access to fresh drinking water following an €11.5 million investment program supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU), the EBRD said on September 16.

The state of water and wastewater utilities in the Kyrgyz Republic is generally unsatisfactory because of limited investment over the past 25 years.

Therefore, a 15-year EBRD loan of up to €1.6 million and a grant of up to €2.4 million from the EU will finance a number of critical water supply system improvements. These include renovation of the network, operational and maintenance equipment purchases as well as household metering in the city of Isfana in the Batken oblast in the south of the country. The loan is supported by technical cooperation funding of €1 million provided by the EU.

The city of Kerben in the Jalal-Abad oblast in the south of the country will receive a 15-year EBRD loan of up to €2.5 million and a €3.0 million EU grant for essential water utility upgrades. Technical assistance of €1 million will be provided by the EU.

Both investments are expected to significantly improve access to clean water, reduce water losses, improve the resilience to climate change and optimise the utilities’ operating costs. They will also help reduce public health risks by improving the quality of drinking water through on-site disinfection and the reduction of infiltration into the water supply system.

The EBRD has invested over €741 million in the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, with most investments supporting private entrepreneurship. Some €150 million has been invested in 21 water projects across the country.

For the period 2014-19 the EU has supported the Kyrgyz Republic with €174 million in sectors such as education, integrated rural development and rule of law. The EU has also provided €90.5 million in grants to support investments, mainly in the water sector.

Sergey Kwan