Switzerland and EBRD help upgrade water services in Bishkek

BISHKEK (TCA) — The City of Bishkek on September 14 took delivery of five more specialised vehicles which will be used to modernise the city’s water and wastewater networks. The project, which also involves a corporate development programme for the municipal water utility, is financially supported by the Government of Switzerland and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The water utility company has already received 41 specialised trucks and other equipment, the Embassy of Switzerland in the Kyrgyz Republic said.

The vehicles, which will be used for emergencies, maintenance and upgrade works, have been received by the city’s municipal water utility company, Bishkekvodokanal, in an official ceremony attended by the Mayor, Mr Albek Ibraimov; the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr René Holenstein; and the EBRD’s Director for Central Asia, Mr Neil McKain; and local government representatives.

The Bishkek Water project will help the municipal water utility company Bishkekvodokanal to improve drinking water and wastewater services. Outdated equipment will be replaced, the sewerage system extended to areas which are not currently covered, and the utility’s laboratory will be upgraded to ensure reliable water testing and control.

The project is financed by a €13.15 million grant from the Government of Switzerland and an EBRD loan of €13.5 million.

“We are pleased to observe the successful implementation of the project which brings benefits to more than a million citizens in Bishkek. Having very good results in the first phase of the project the Government of Switzerland has decided to continue its support to Bishkek city,” noted Mr René Holenstein. “In its second phase the project will focus on improving wastewater services to the population of the new settlement areas around the capital, supporting the city’s administration to cope with the challenges of a high level of internal migration and urbanisation.”

“The EBRD is committed to improve the country’s municipal services and infrastructure and to introduce modern facilities and management skills. This project aims at improving the Bishkek city’s drinking water and wastewater services, including upgrade of the fleet. The support will be critical to guarantee a reliable and safer service for the Kyrgyz capital,” said Mr Neil McKain.

With €630 million invested to date, the EBRD is the largest institutional investor in the Kyrgyz Republic. In 2009 the EBRD approved an investment framework for much-needed modernisation of the country’s infrastructure including water, wastewater, solid waste management, local public transport and roads.

The Government of Switzerland is one of the largest international donors in the Kyrgyz Republic, providing grants for projects that directly benefit people across the country. To date the Government of Switzerland has provided a total of €32 million as grants to EBRD projects across the country.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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