Vitebsk Region Clean Water Project

Location:

Belarus

Project number:

49085

Business sector:

Municipal and environmental infrastructure

Notice type:

Public

Environmental category:

B

Target board date:

04 Dec 2018

Status:

Signed

PSD disclosed:

26 Mar 2019

Translated version of this PSD: Russian

Project Description

The provision of a sovereign loan of up to €15.5 million on-lent to Vitebsk Oblast Water Company (the "Company"), a municipal enterprise fully owned by the Vitebsk Oblast (the "Oblast"), north Belarus.

The Project will finance 70 new iron-removal water treatment facilities to improve water supply quality in 80 small settlements across the Oblast.

Project Objectives

The Project aims to improve water supply quality in small settlements across the Oblast with a focus on excess iron removal from ground water. The Project will help population of the settlements access clean drinking water in compliance with WHO and EU guideline standards.

Transition Impact

Good.

Transition impact is expected to derive from:

  • Green quality through improving access to clean and safe drinking water in rural areas;
  • Well-governed quality through the advancement of tariff reform, and regionalization of the water supply and wastewater operation

Client Information

BELARUS SOVEREIGN

The Company was established in January 2018 and is 100 per cent owned by the Oblast as a result of the pilot regionalisation. All water related assets in the Oblast have been transferred to the
Company, including assets in small settlements to be targeted by the Project.

EBRD Finance Summary

EUR 15,500,000.00

A sovereign loan of up to € 15.5 million to the Republic of Belarus on-lent to the Company.

Total Project Cost

EUR 15,500,000.00

The total sub-project cost is € 16.4 million, including technical cooperation.

Environmental and Social Summary

Categorised B in accordance with the EBRD's Environmental and Social Policy 2014. The Environmental and Social Due Diligence ("ESDD") for the proposed Priority Investment Programme
("PIP") for the Project was carried out as part of the Feasibility Study by independent consultants.

It included a review of current practices, an assessment of the Project's potential E&S impacts and a review of the Company's Environmental and Social provisions and management capacities. The PIP is designed to achieve compliance with national drinking water standards, the EU Drinking Water Directive and the EBRD PRs. An Environmental and Social Action Plan ("ESAP") has been
developed for the Project and will be agreed with the Company under a separate Project Agreement.

A Stakeholder Engagement Plan ("SEP") and a non-technical summary ("NTS") have also been developed.

The Company is undergoing reorganisation due to regionalisation and has no environmental and social management system and lacks competent Environmental, Health, and Safety ("EHS") staff
at the corporate level. In order to achieve compliance with the EBRD requirements and address challenges of the regionalisation process (with local operators now being part of the Company) it is necessary that the Company establishes an effective Environmental and Social Management System which covers environment, social, health and safety issues in line with ISO14001 and OHSAS 18001/ISO 45001. The Company will need to develop a corporate E&S Policy and basic EHS standards (for risk and impact assessment, planning, monitoring and reporting) which need to be harmonised with the existing systems of the affiliated water utilities. Further reorganisation of responsibilities and implementation of a more systematic approach to the management of the environmental, social and labour risks is required to ensure that the Company operates in line with the requirements of the local and national environmental authorities. Non-compliances are addressed with corrective measures in the ESAP.

The Project will cover 80 towns in Vitebsk Oblast in the North region of Belarus and finance standalone, small-scale treatment units 'bolted' onto existing water treatment facilities to improve water supply quality in small towns not covered by central water supply systems across Vitebsk Oblast.This will be achieved through permanently addressing the issue of excess soluble iron which naturally occurs from the groundwater sources, thus assuring access to safe drinking water services in line with SDG target 6 for over 28,000 people in Vitebsk region and achieving full compliance with WHO and the EU standards for drinking water quality. Any negative impacts are of a short-term nature and relate to the construction stage and localised within construction sites. These impacts include noise generated by equipment, local short-term increases in traffic intensity and corresponding air pollution, and soil and landscape disturbances during excavation works. These impacts can be mitigated by proper organisation of the works. The affordability assessment carried out by the Feasibility Study consultant did not identify significant water tariff affordability concerns from the implementation of the Project.

About 50 per cent of the people in the rural area of Vitebsk are connected to the centralised wastewater collection network. There are no centralised wastewater systems in rural settlements.
The ESAP requires the Company to implement a number of improvements designed to meet the EBRD's PRs. The key ESAP actions are related to: increasing the Company's EHS capacity and
development of EHS procedures relating to the main EHS risks; implementation of E&S Procedure for leasing of de-ironing equipment and for construction of new de-ironing facilities; development of HR policies and procedures; improvement of worker grievance mechanism; development of contractors' EHS and labour management and monitoring programme; improved water supply and waste water quality monitoring; development of Construction Environmental and Social Management Plan ("CESMP") for contractors implementing the PIP; preparation and implementation of a Livelihood Restoration Plan prior to construction (as relevant); and implementation of the SEP together with a public grievance mechanism.

The EBRD will monitor the implementation of the project and the ESAP through annual environmental and social reports and undertaking monitoring visits as needed, and project implementation consultant will assist the Company in the implementation of the agreed E&S commitments.

Technical Cooperation

Pre-Signing TC
TC 1: Technical, financial, environmental and social due diligence of the Project.

Post-Signing TC
TC 2: Project Implementation Support. The TC will provide assistance to the Company in the implementation of the Project, including design, all aspects of procurement and disbursement, and
environmental and social ("E&S") requirements.

Company Contact Information

Ms. Elena Puko, Deputy Director on Construction
oksoblvodokanal@gmail.com
4-3 Zamkovaya Street 210026 Vitebsk, Belarus

Business opportunities

For business opportunities or procurement, contact the client company.

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Email: procurement@ebrd.com

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Tel: +44 20 7338 7168
Email: projectenquiries@ebrd.com

Public Information Policy (PIP)

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Text of the PIP

Project Complaint Mechanism (PCM)

The Project Complaint Mechanism (PCM) is the EBRD's accountability mechanism. It provides an opportunity for an independent review of complaints from individuals and organisations concerning EBRD-financed projects which are alleged to have caused, or are likely to cause, environmental and/or social harm.

Please visit the Project Complaint Mechanism page to find information about how to submit a complaint. The PCM Officer (pcm@ebrd.com) is available to answer any questions you may have regarding the submission of a complaint and criteria for registration and eligibility, in accordance with the PCM Rules of Procedure.