Switzerland and EBRD support wastewater management upgrade in Osh

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo


русский перевод

New wastewater treatment plant to serve second largest city of Kyrgyz Republic

The 275,000-strong population of Osh will benefit from a new wastewater plant which has just opened in the second largest city in the Kyrgyz Republic thanks to financing provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Government of Switzerland.

The EBRD extended a €3 million sovereign loan and Switzerland a €5.05 million grant for the project, undertaken by the Osh Water Company, a municipal water and wastewater operator. The works included an upgrade of existing facilities as well as the installation of brand new equipment.

The modernisation programme will help the city provide more reliable services, cut water losses and operating costs, and protect public health and the environment.

As part of the project, the city will also renew leaking water pipes, obsolete pumping stations, install water meters in the pilot area and repair the sewerage network which currently covers only 60 per cent of the city.

The Kyrgyz Republic faces great challenges in rebuilding and maintaining a dated infrastructure in urban areas. In the water sector assets for water supply and wastewater collection are often severely deteriorated and wastewater treatment is very limited. As a result large parts of the population remain unserved or only partially served and environmental and health risks are high.

The water and wastewater rehabilitation project in Osh is financed under an EBRD framework worth €20 million designed to accelerate investments in the Kyrgyz water sector. The Bank’s financing is complemented by donor grants. The programme focuses on smaller towns and promotes more sustainable services thanks to technical assistance supporting skills transfers and the implementation of international standards.

To support the implementation of the project in Osh, SECO and the donors of the EBRD’s Early Transition Countries Fund* provided technical cooperation grants on project design, procurement and contracts supervision as well as institutional capacity building and a programme to engage with stakeholders, including directly affected communities.

At the launch ceremony for the new wastewater treatment plant, Neil McKain, EBRD Regional Director for Central Asia, said: “The EBRD is proud to support the improvement of vital infrastructure in the Kyrgyz Republic. Projects such as this make a real difference for citizens and for the development of the region”.

 “Switzerland has been providing financial assistance to this project since 2011”, says Françoise Salamé Guex, the Programme Manager of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of Switzerland. “We expect that our joint support will improve the quality of water and sanitation services for all inhabitants of Osh. This infrastructure improvement underlines our commitment to support the city’s economic prosperity and stability”.

Since 1994 the Government of Switzerland has provided around CHF 350 million to Kyrgyzstan in the form of technical, financial and humanitarian support. Switzerland supports the transition process in Kyrgyzstan by assisting public and private institutions at all levels to deliver better services in an equitable and effective way in the three domains of health, public sector reform and infrastructure, and private sector development.

To date, the EBRD has invested €630 million in the Kyrgyz Republic. The Bank focuses on fostering sustainable growth, supporting small and medium-sided enterprises; promoting the sustainability of public utilities, strengthening the financial sector and supporting critical infrastructure.

*Donors to the Early Transition Countries Fund are: Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.