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US$75 million in World Bank financing to deliver safe water to villages with high arsenic contamination

April 12, 2012

DHAKA, April 12, 2012 — The Government of Bangladesh today signed a US$75 million financing agreement with the World Bank for the Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project. The project will provide safe water for around 1.6 million people living in rural areas with high arsenic or saline infiltration.

Following a private-public partnership model involving local sponsors, the project will scale up piped and non-piped water facilities to provide safe and clean water to villagers. Deep tube-wells connected to piped water supply systems are a safe and viable option, especially in high density villages. Non-piped schemes will be implemented where piped water schemes are not geographically or economically possible.  The project will also use a sanitation social marketing approach to promote hygienic sanitation facilities in all project areas. The project will cover around 380 unions in about 20 districts with acute arsenic contamination and low coverage for safe water supply.

More than 80 million people are potentially exposed to arsenic contamination in Bangladesh.  In acute areas, where shallow tube-wells are no longer feasible due to high arsenic contamination, the project will support a private-public partnership to provide piped water to rural areas,’ said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. ‘We are scaling up a private-public partnership model with a proven track record of delivering safe water to rural populations.’

Local villagers and Union Parishad officials will be at the center of decision-making, starting from site selection to implementation and maintenance of the schemes.  Union Parishads will own the infrastructure assets. The piped and non-piped water schemes, as well as hygienic sanitation facilities, will be implemented through local partnerships involving beneficiary communities, local governments, non-governmental and community-based organizations and private entrepreneurs. The Department of Public Health Engineering serves as the overall implementing agency.

'The project is consistent with and supportive of Government’s Sixth Five Year Plan and also will contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of access to safe water and sanitation,' said Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. 'It also addresses the Government’s decentralization agenda by empowering the Union Parishads to successfully manage the implementation of the schemes.'

Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, and Ms. Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, signed the financing agreement on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.

The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.


Media Contacts
In Washington
Alison Reeves
Tel : (202) 473-8955
In Dhaka
Mehrin Mahbub
Tel : (880-2) 815-9001