The EBRD is continuing its work to help improve water infrastructure in Romanian cities, with a new loan to improve water services in the county of Braila.
The Bank is providing a €8.8 million loan which, alongside EU Cohesion Funds of €74 million and funding from the local and state budgets, will finance the €95.7 million regional water investment programme of the SC Compania de Utilitati Publice Dunarea SA Braila.
SC Compania de Utilitati Publice Dunarea SA Braila is the regional water and wastewater operator for the County of Braila, located in south-eastern Romania, and is responsible for the management of water resources including the distribution and treatment of water and wastewater services. This company provides water and wastewater services to the City of Braila, a historically and culturally rich city located on the river Danube, as well as to three other localities (Ianca, Faurei and Insuratei) and 41 smaller rural communities in the county.
The investment programme aims to extend and rehabilitate the water and wastewater infrastructure in 45 administrative territorial units representing nearly two-thirds of the population of Braila County. As a result of the project more than 300,000 inhabitants in the area will gain access to safe water supplies and to sanitation services.
The project will also benefit from a benchmarking programme, which will provide the company with the necessary tools and procedures to improve the level of the services delivered to customers, compare operational performance over time and identify underperformance relative to industry standards.
In addition, the project has important environmental benefits attached to it, resulting in overall improvements and positive environmental effects for the Danube region and ultimately for the whole Black Sea basin. These will lead to efficiency gains and the transfer of commercial and managerial skills in water and wastewater operations to less-developed regions of Braila County.
“We are pleased to be able to facilitate the absorption of EU funds in Romania and, so far, the Bank’s investments have enabled utility companies in Romania to attract €724 million in EU Cohesion Funds with the counties of Brasov, Buzau, Constanta, Dambovita, Iasi, Sibiu and now Braila benefiting,” said Claudia Pendred, EBRD Director for Romania.
“The project is of major importance for Braila, and we are delighted to continue working with the EBRD in order to improve water and wastewater services in Braila County. The implementation of this project represents an important step in ensuring provision of quality water and wastewater services in the County of Braila and the continuation of a successful partnership with the Bank which began in 1997,” said Mihail Chirita, General Director of the SC Compania de Utilitati Publice Dunarea SA Braila.
The EBRD's €8.8 million loan is a subproject of the €200 million Regional EU Cohesion Fund Co-financing Framework (R2CF) which was launched in 2010 to support investments in Romania’s water and wastewater infrastructure and help municipalities absorb the financing available from EU Cohesion Funds. It is estimated that the framework will mobilise additional investments of approximately €1.5 billion in Romania’s water and wastewater infrastructure.
Since the beginning of its operations in Romania, the EBRD has committed over €5.4 billion to various sectors of the country’s economy.