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Friday, April 28, 2017

Belarusians receive World Bank funding to improve water supply

The World Bank Group's board of executive directors approved a $90 million loan on Monday to the Republic of Belarus for additional financing to the ongoing water supply and sanitation project.

The project increases access to wastewater services and the water supply in eight Belarusian cities while improving the water supply's quality and supporting the modernization of the sector.

"The project supports rehabilitation of facilities and overall sustainability of the water sector through revision of design norms, benchmarking of service providers and improving the energy efficiency of water and wastewater services," Stephane Dahan, the World Bank's task team leader for the project, said. "The project preparation relied on findings of (the) 'Belarus Municipal Water Sector Review' that identified a number of acute challenges, such as the need for modernization and improved financial sustainability in the context of decreasing financial support from the budget."

The urban areas of Belarus have a high standard of water that has continually improved over the last 15 years. Operational costs, however, are substantial and some regions have seen service interruptions or losses in distribution as a result of aging infrastructure and required maintenance.

"In addition to the investments made to upgrade the physical infrastructure, the project will support the country in formulating sound policies to ensure efficient investments in the sector, enhance its financial sustainability, thereby ensuring the affordability of the services (for) customers," Young Chul Kim, the World Bank's country manager for Belarus, said.

Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992.