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PRESS RELEASE August 8, 2019

Ceará to improve water management and service efficiency

WASHINGTON, August 8, 2019 – The US$139 million Ceará Water Security and Governance Project was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors today. More than 1 million people will benefit from the project, which aims to consolidate the water resources management capacity in the State, improve reliability of water services in selected municipalities, and increase operational efficiency of water services in the city of Fortaleza, the state’s capital.

“Water security is a priority in our state. We are fully committed to providing our people efficient water management and services,” said Ceará Governor Camilo Santana. “We have invested a lot to minimize the effects of drought, taking various actions to increase water security. This new program, which will be financed by the World Bank, will allow us to expand these actions with a direct impact on the well-being of our citizens.”

The State of Ceará has a population of about 9 million people and ranks seventh in the country in terms of inequality levels. According to the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE) around 17 percent of the state’s population live below the poverty line, with 10 percent living in extreme poverty. Approximately 93 percent of its territory is semi-arid, with very high temperatures, low and concentrated rainfall, and serious water scarcity problems. The State is particularly susceptible to prolonged periods of drought, most recently seen in 2012-2017, which drastically reduced reservoir levels, leading to the deterioration of water quality and prompting the implementation of stringent water allocation rules.

Current climate scenarios predict increasing vulnerability to severe and prolonged droughts which threaten to exacerbate water scarcity problems. Ceará also lacks appropriate access and efficient provision of water services.  The Project interventions will control and reduce water losses by focusing on controlling pressure, sectorization and creation of District Metering Areas (DMAs) in priority water distribution sectors of Fortaleza. The creation of DMAs will allow the water utility to have detailed knowledge of losses related problems in the system, provide better equalization of pressures, and contribute to managing the losses in smaller areas, bringing better returns both in relation to actual and apparent losses.

The goal is to tackle water security in three dimensions: strengthening water management and governance in the State; improving service delivery and increasing accountability; and helping develop tools for evidence-based planning and decision-making.

“This project will promote a more productive use of scarce water resources, increase the water supply in the driest region and guarantee water availability including during scarce years,” said Paloma Anos Casero, World Bank Director for Brazil.  

Outcomes supported by the Project include:

  • higher number of strategic water users regularized;
  • greater continuity of water systems supplied with water from Banabuiú – Sertão Central Pipeline System;
  • increased number of people benefiting from more reliable water services;
  • reduction in Non-Revenue Water in the city of Fortaleza.

This loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Ceará of US$ 139 million has a US$34.97 million counterpart contribution and is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil. It has a final maturity of 20 years, with a five-year grace period.

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