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World Bank backs $210m Baghdad water supply project

BAGHDAD, February 3, 2018

The Iraqi government has launched a $210-million project in co-ordination with World Bank in a bid to improve the quality of drinking water supply and wastewater services to around five million residents in capital Baghdad who suffer from water shortages and the outbreak of waterborne diseases due to inadequate infrastructure, rapid population growth, and the inflow of internally displaced people. 
 
The Baghdad Water Supply and Sewerage Improvement Project, approved by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors will support the Mayoralty of Baghdad and the Baghdad Water and Sewerage Authorities through improvement in utility management, and generate employment during the construction, operation and maintenance stages of implementation. 
 
The project will help finance the construction of a service reservoir with a total capacity of 135,000 cu m, which will help the city manage its water supply better in case of climate-induced droughts. 
 
The project will also rehabilitate existing sewerage pumping stations thus reducing the public health effects of untreated wastewater discharged into the Tigris. The project will contribute to the reduction of physical losses by replacing about 130 km of water supply distribution network and the creation of district metering areas. 
 
According to World Bank, the project will also help reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases and improve the quality of life, health, and sanitation.
 
"The recently completed National Water and Land Strategy (2015-2035) indicates that Baghdad will need substantial investments in its water supply and wastewater treatment systems over the next 20 years," Saroj Kumar Jha, the regional director at World Bank Mashreq. 
 
"Given limited availability of public funding, attracting commercial finance will be critical for implementing this ambitious strategy," he stated.
 
“In close coordination with the International Finance Corporation, this project will focus on creating a more favorable business environment, and on supporting the preparation of feasibility studies and transactions to enable private sector participation in the water sector,” added |Jha.
 
The residents of Baghdad deal with daily water service interruptions, especially during the hot summer months. Baghdad is one of the governorates impacted by outbreaks of waterborne diseases, said the World Bank in its report. 
 
Leakage from sewer pipes contaminates potable water networks and groundwater aquifers, which aggravates health and environmental problems. 
 
Contaminated water supply and improper disposal of sewage force families to spend a significant fraction of their income on medical treatment and to purchase bottled water, it added. 
 
Mayor of Baghdad Thikra Alwash said: "Water supply and sanitation have immediate and major impacts on the quality of life of citizens."
 
"We are committed to improving public services for the residents of Baghdad and to alleviating the burden households face on a daily basis in getting clean and reliable water supply. We are confident that improved access to these services can significantly strengthen people's trust and confidence in the state and contribute to building social cohesion when it is most needed," he added.-TradeArabia News Service



Tags: World Bank | Water | Iraq | project |

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