WASHINGTON, June 14, 2019 — Belarusians will gain access to more efficient water, sanitation, and solid waste disposal services, thanks to €90 million in financing for the Belarus Utility Efficiency and Quality Improvement Project, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The project will support Belarus’ national “Clean Water” program, which is expected to also receive investment from the European Investment Bank.
“Belarus has invested heavily to ensure people have access to adequate utility services. But, infrastructure is aging, while some utility companies are less efficient than others,” said Alex Kremer, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus. “With this project, we seek not only to upgrade infrastructure but also to help utility companies provide better services at a lower cost.”
Around 550,000 Belarusians from across the country will enjoy better quality drinking water, and a cleaner environment, thanks to the modernization of water and wastewater treatment facilities, which will be carried out as part of the project. Consequently, there will be less iron in the water supply and less pollution going into rivers.
Another component of the project will pilot a regional approach to solid waste management, which includes construction of the Polotsk/Novopolotsk Regional Landfill and similar facilities in other towns across the country. New landfills will replace existing mini-landfills that have no environmental controls, to ensure safe disposal of solid waste. In addition, several studies will be undertaken on the development of the waste management sector, along with public communications campaigns to raise environmental awareness.
“The project will help contribute to improving people’s lives, as well as protecting the environment,” said Stjepan Gabric, Project Task Team Leader. “Ensuring all Belarusians have access to affordable, efficient, and high-quality water and solid waste services is a key goal of the Government, which the World Bank actively supports.”
For more than 10 years, the World Bank has successfully supported the water sector in Belarus, through the Water Supply and Sanitation Project and the Municipal Water Sector Review for Belarus. The Bank has also been involved in a national policy dialogue on solid waste management, through the Integrated Solid Waste Management Project, and through various analyses.
Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled $1.8 billion. In addition, the country has received grants of $31 million. The active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank in Belarus includes nine operations with a total amount of $993 million.