Washington, DC, April 7th, 2011 – More than 158 thousand people in 16 districts of Northern Lima will benefit from the rehabilitation of water and sewer networks, as a result of work carried out by the Running Water and Sewer Service (SEDAPAL, in Spanish) and a US$54.5 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors.
Close to one million urban dwellers in Lima do not have access to running water at home. This is due mainly to the rapid growth of the capital’s population, which increased from 6.4 to 8.4 million during the 1993-2009 period, and the scarcity of water resources in the coastal area. Lima is the second largest city located in a desert, after Cairo. The Rimac River provides 17.5 m3/s of water to Lima; however, during the dry season that volume can be cut to half.
“Here in SEDAPAL we know that providing an efficient coverage of this service is a key challenge. This loan will help us solve issues created by bursting pipes and water losses, which are due to the age of Northern Lima’s piping system,” said Jorge Barco Martínez, SEDAPAL’s General Manager. “It complements other activities undertaken by the Government seeking to facilitate the constant flow and supply of running water from the new plant in Huachipa to the most vulnerable population in Northern Lima,” he added.
A study carried out in 2007 by the National Statistics and IT Institute (INEI) and the National Register of Municipalities (RENAMU) in 1,628 municipalities revealed that in half of them access to water services is not continuous. 7.7 percent of those municipalities had a service lasting less than 11 continuous hours per day. Currently, the urban average in Latin America is 24 hours of continuous water supply, while Lima manages only 21 hours.
Laura Frigenti, WB Director of Operations and Strategy for Latin America, said that “savings derived from the rehabilitation of water and sewer infrastructure will be crucial for supplying water to areas that currently have a discontinuous service or in areas that do not have this vital resource. Because of that, the proposed operation will contribute directly to the Government’s goal of reducing inequality, guaranteeing that low income people will have access to good quality basic water and sewer services.”
The new treatment plant in Huachipa, located in Lima’s northeast, will increase water flow to the northern cone. In this way, the project will contribute to a drastic reduction in physical losses. Moreover, the institutional strengthening component of this project, particularly the standardization of the Network Management Automated System (SCADA) and the identification of information vacuums through the company’s Geographic Information Systems (SIG), combined with an improved assessment of demand, will help reduce commercial and physical losses.
Finally, the project contains a communicational component so that users adopt best practices for usage of this essential service. As well as wasting this scarce resource because of poorly-maintained pipes and home fittings, 100 blockages occur each day due to the inefficient use of home sewers.
With the intention of improving water and sewer services, the Government of Peru has for the last fifteen years undertaken significant reforms to this sector, which has resulted in an institutional framework where the establishment of policies, regulations and differentiated roles contributes to a better system.
This US$54.5 million financing consists of a variable margin loan with an 18-year maturity period and a 17-year grace period.