WASHINGTON, DC February 28, 2012 - Today the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of US$100 million to the People’s Republic of China to help improve livelihood and incomes of 1.35 million farmers in Sichuan Province through increased agricultural production as a result of expanded irrigation infrastructure and services.
With China’s rapid social and economic development in the past three decades, many parts of the country are experiencing growing water scarcity. There are three different types of water scarcity: first, physical scarcity when there are not sufficient water resources available to meet all water demands, including environmental flows; second, pollution scarcity as a result of limited available clean water for water users, and high cost of providing safe water; and third, economic scarcity when there is a lack of investment in water infrastructure or a lack of human, institutional and financial capacity to satisfy the demand for water.
Sichuan Wudu Irrigated Agriculture Development Project seeks to address the third type of water scarcity. The project counties under Mianyang City suffer from water scarcity mainly due to uneven temporal and spatial distribution of water resources. The project will finance the construction of water infrastructure including a reservoir and a number of main canals and branch canals. The new irrigation systems are expected to irrigate about 70,200 hectares of land as well as to supply water to urban and rural areas, and water to industries in the project area.
“In addition to the construction of main irrigation systems, the on-farm irrigation systems are also required to be constructed with the strengthened agricultural extension services to ensure water is timely delivered to the field and farmers’ incomes are substantially increased, which is a big challenge facing the project”, said World Bank’s Senior Irrigation Specialist Jiang Liping who manages the project.
The project will adopt a community demand driven (CDD) approach, closely involving farmer communities in the selection, design and implementation of on-farm irrigation work. CDD-based water users associations will be established to allow farmers to allocate and manage water resources themselves, increasing the efficiency of irrigation water use.
About 1.35 million farmers in 397,000 households will be able to receive reliable irrigation water supplies and change from mainly dry farming to irrigated agriculture and boost their agriculture production. Another 1.7 million people in rural and small urban communities, as well as the industries in Mianyang City and other cities, will be provided by water supply from the irrigation infrastructure for drinking and industrial purposes.
Of the total project financing of US$ 700.77 million, US$100 million will be covered by the World Bank loan, the rest of US$600.77 million will come from counterpart funding from the central and local governments.