WASHINGTON, March 22, 2012 — The World Bank today approved a US$75 million concessional credit for the Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP) to increase access to safe water and hygienic sanitation in the rural areas of Bangladesh. The project will support safe water supply coverage through the construction of piped and non-piped water supply schemes in communities affected by arsenic or saline intrusion in 20 districts. The project will also expand hygienic sanitation.
Seventy-two percent of the Bangladeshi population lives in rural areas and does not have uniform access to safe water. Contamination with arsenic and other pollutants significantly reduces safe water coverage in rural areas. The project will support the Government of Bangladesh in scaling up piped and non-piped water facilities in rural areas to provide clean water to around 1.6 million people.
“Arsenic contamination is a major threat to safe water provision in Bangladesh, and the project focuses on arsenic hot spots,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. “A previous World Bank-financed project tested an innovative partnership between local governments and private providers to deliver piped water to rural communities, with positive results. We are now scaling up this model, with community engagement to select sites, oversee works, and ensure operations and maintenance.”
Rural piped water schemes would be implemented with private sponsors, communities and local government using this innovative Public-Private Partnership model. Around 125 schemes would cover single or multiple villages, providing 600-1200 household connections each. The project would also construct non-piped water supply schemes in highly arsenic-affected villages where piped water supply is not viable.
The project will also support sustainable sanitation services for the population, providing hygienic latrines and undertaking social mobilization and awareness-raising activities to promote hygiene and safe sanitation practices.
“The project will be implemented at the union level, covering an estimated 383 unions in about 20 districts identified as high priority on the basis of arsenic contamination and water supply coverage” said Arif Ahamed, Task Team Leader, BRWSSP, World Bank. “The project’s interventions will reduce the occurrence of waterborne diseases, leading to better health among the beneficiary population, including vulnerable infants, pregnant women and the elderly ”
The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.