BUENOS AIRES, April 5th, 2011 – The World Bank Board of Directors (WB) approved a US$200 million project today for Argentina, which seeks to improve access to sanitation services in nine provinces in the country’s northern region.
This loan completes a triad of support projects for the National Government’s Great North Development Program, which includes, on the World Bank’s part, financing for the Great North Water and Road Infrastructure projects, approved in December 2010 and worth US$600 million, to build roads and improve the provision of running water and urban drainage in the provinces of Catamarca, Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Tucumán and Santiago del Estero, where 7.5 million people live.
“The Great North initiative brings concrete solutions to the people of Northern Argentina. These investments will enable a significant expansion of water and sanitation services, as well as economic development and environmental care,” said Penélope J. Brook, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The Great North region is one of the most disadvantaged with regards to access to drinking water and sanitation services. A million people lack running water and more than 4.5 million lack sewers.
This new project, which ends in 2016, includes the following activities:
1. Rehabilitation, improvement and/or reconstruction of, on the one hand, wastewater collection, transportation, treatment and disposal systems (such as treatment plants, pumping stations, drainpipes and sewer networks) and on the other, water provision systems of significant size.
2. Implementation of institutional and operational reinforcement programs, as well as technical assistance for service providers. The goal is to improve institutional organization, managing capacity, investment planning and technical, operational, commercial and financial efficiency. It will develop client databases, analyze cost recovery options and rate and subsidy optimization, and design training programs to operate and maintain systems and facilities (wastewater treatment plants, water treatment plants and pumping stations).
3. A series of environmental and social supervisory initiatives, audits and monitoring and evaluation activities, and the provision of administrative and operational support during the project implementation phase.
The project will be financed by a mixed-margin, US$200 million loan, with a 26-year maturity period and a 7.5-year grace period.