Improving Rijeka’s water services

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD is supporting improvements in the water services of Rijeka, Croatia’s third largest city, with a loan of up to €13 million. The funds will be extended to ViK Rijeka, the water and wastewater company majority owned by the City of Rijeka, and used to support investments in the rehabilitation of the water supply network and extension of the wastewater collection network.

The water supply network in Rijeka covers more than 95 per cent of the city, which has a population of 190,000 and is an administrative and industrial centre with vital transport links for the country. Rijeka’s port is the biggest in the country. While the rate of water supply is high, the infrastructure is ageing and new investments are needed for network upgrades and replacements.

In comparison, the wastewater collection network is much smaller with less than half of the existing water supply customers connected to the wastewater network. The planned extension funded with the EBRD loan is essential for progress towards reaching both the EU and national targets on wastewater service coverage as well as increasing the efficiency of Rijeka’s wastewater treatment plant.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “We are proud to support the city of Rijeka in improving vital services for the benefit of its population and the environment. The modernisation of the network will significantly increase the efficiency of operations and also strengthen our partner company. Rijeka and the EBRD are long-standing partners and we are sure that Croatia’s membership of the European Union will provide us with many new opportunities to further develop and intensify this relationship.”

Andrej Marochini, Director of ViK, added: “Our company is continuously working on improvements of water supply and wastewater collection and treatment services in its area of operations, trying to offer the best and most reliable service to our end-users. The investments financed by the EBRD loan are only the beginning of a major investment cycle we expect to co-finance with EU grants. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the City of Rijeka as well as the Croatian Water Agency for supporting our plans.”

The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and to date has invested more than €2.5 billion in some 140 projects. The Bank’s activities cover all sectors of the economy and are especially strong in infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy.