EBRD loan for water services in Ruse, Bulgaria

By Olga Rosca

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  • €8.7 million investment to improve water and wastewater services for over 220,000 people
  • Environmental and operational standards to increase significantly
  • First EBRD loan under ESIF Bulgarian Water Sector Framework worth c. €200 million

Over 220,000 residents in the region of Ruse in Bulgaria will benefit from better water and wastewater services in line with European standards.

The EBRD is extending a loan of up to €8.7 million to the Ruse Water Supply and Sanitation Company consisting of €5.9 million of EBRD finance and €2.8 million from the EU’s European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

The loan will be used to rehabilitate 63 km of water supply pipelines, build over 40 km of wastewater collection infrastructure and 5.5 km of water transmission main between the town of Slivo Pole and the village of Borisovo.

The investment will bring significant environmental benefits by cutting water losses and connecting the households of over 27,000 people to the sewer system or centralised wastewater treatment. It will also improve the reliability of the water utility services, including providing better quality drinking water.

Moreover, through technical cooperation, the project will strengthen the company’s financial and operational performance as well as foster the transition of the sector towards higher efficiency and stronger focus on the customer.

This is the first project under the Bank’s ESIF Bulgarian Water Sector Framework. The framework was established to co-finance strategic infrastructure investments aiming at complying with EU directives and addresses environmental issues and operational inefficiencies.

The Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria (FMFIB), or Fund of Funds, chose EBRD to manage up to €115 million from ESIF and the national budget to develop the water sector. In addition, the EBRD will contribute up to another €80 million of its own finance, unlocking a total of c. €200 million for water operators.

The EBRD is a major investor in Bulgaria. A recently approved five-year strategy identifies among the EBRD’s priorities in the country supporting sustainable infrastructure development through regional connectivity, green municipal solutions, decarbonisation and resource efficiency. To date, the EBRD has invested almost €4 billion in the Bulgarian economy.

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