EBRD, EU funds to improve water services in Romania’s Mehedinți county

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

EBRD, EU funds to improve water services in Romania’s Mehedinți county

The EBRD invests in the improvement of four wastewater treatment plants

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) Cohesion Fund are expanding their efforts to modernise and upgrade water and wastewater services in Romania.

In their latest joint project, the partners are co-financing the €72.9 million investment plan by SC Secom SA Drobeta-Turnu Severin, a regional company supplying water and wastewater services to a population of some 300,000 in Mehedinți county on the border with Serbia and Bulgaria.

The EBRD is extending a long-term €5.7 million loan, while the EU is contributing a grant of €57.1 million from Romania’s EU Cohesion Fund Programme. In addition, the state is providing €8.7 million and the remaining €1.4 million will be covered by the local budget.

SC Secom SA plans to expand and modernise its water and wastewater network in the 10 towns Drobeta Turnu Severin, Baia de Aramă, Strehaia, Vânju-Mare, Simian, Cujmir, Braniște, Gura Văii, Comanda and Rogova.

The EBRD’s funds will be used for improvements to four wastewater treatment plants, 13 new water-pumping stations, 10 new reservoirs and 27 wastewater pumping stations, in addition to over two hundred kilometres of water and wastewater networks that will be rehabilitated and extended.

The investment will improve the quality of drinking water to meet EU directives and will increase access to and the quality of water and sewerage services. As a result, more than 15,000 people will be connected to the water network and almost 30,000 to the wastewater network. The improvements will also reduce water and energy losses, cutting 415 tonnes of CO2-equivalent annually.

Constantin Gherge, the mayor of Drobeta-Turnu Severin, the capital of Mehedinți county, said: “The project envisages the extension of water and wastewater utilities which are much needed for a community to be comfortable and thrive.”

Matteo Patrone, EBRD Director for Romania, added: “Our goal is to develop a sustainable water and wastewater system in Mehedinți. Improving the quality of services and reducing the negative impact of wastewater discharges means improving the quality of life for local residents.”

George Lupulescu, Director General of SC Secom SA, commented: “The project is of major importance for the county of Mehedinți and we are delighted to work with the EBRD in ensuring the provision of quality water and wastewater services. The EBRD’s investment will provide co-financing, which will enable our company to implement a substantial investment programme co-financed by EU Cohesion Funds. The implementation of the project marks an important step in improving water and wastewater treatment, while the EBRD’s environmental and social policies support the development of SC Secom SA as the regional water operator.”

SC Secom SA is the 24th regional water operator in Romania to receive financing under the EBRD’s Romania EU Cohesion Fund Water Co-Financing Framework (R2CF). The facility was approved in November 2010 with a volume of €200 million and further increased by €130 million in September 2012 following strong local demand. To date, the EBRD has mobilised over €2 billion of EU funding in Romania’s water and wastewater facilities.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Romania. The Bank has invested over €7 billion in the country to date and has also mobilised more than €14 billion from other sources of financing.