EBRD supports improved quality of water supply in Belarus

By Anton Usov

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Framework to modernise key utilities in 3 municipalities with regional environmental impact

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing loans for the total amount of €21 million to rehabilitate water supply and wastewater infrastructure in three Belarusian towns with a total population of over 400.000 people.

The loans are extended under the €40 million Belarus Water Sector Framework, which will also be expanded to other municipalities across the country. It will help modernise water and wastewater treatment facilities, rehabilitate corresponding networks, modernise pumping stations and finance the purchase of maintenance equipment in the towns of Lida, Polotsk and Orsha.

Subprojects of €6 million in Lida (western Belarus) and of €9 million in Polotsk (northern Belarus) will help local utilities comply with EU standards for wastewater treatment and will follow recommendations by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission to bring significant environmental benefits to the local population and reduce the pollution of the Baltic Sea basin. The Polotsk subproject also envisages the construction of a brand new wastewater treatment facility.

The subprojects will be co-financed by investment grants of €3 million and €4.21 million, respectively, provided by the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. Pre-investment feasibility studies for both Lida and Polotsk were implemented with the help of technical cooperation funds provided by the government of Sweden.

A loan of €6 million to the municipality of Orsha (north-eastern Belarus) will also help it to comply with EU standards for wastewater treatment and reduce the pollution of the Black Sea basin. The Orsha subproject will be co-financed by an investment grant of up to €3 million by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and other international donors. A pre-investment feasibility study for Orsha was implemented with the help of technical cooperation funds provided by the government of Sweden.

Alain Pilloux, EBRD Acting Vice President Policy and Partnerships, said: “This framework is a good example of opportunities available for public sector companies under the EBRD’s newly adopted country strategy for Belarus. By improving water services in these three municipalities we are not only providing the local population with better quality drinking water but also making local utilities sustainable and environmentally friendly”.

Since the start of its operations in Belarus in 1992, the EBRD has invested almost €1.8 billion in some 70 projects in various sectors of the country's economy.

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