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ADB supports water projects

December 2006

The Asian Development Bank is to double its annual investment in water provision and management to more than $2billion (£1.04bn). The decision follows an estimate from the Asia Water Watch 2015 study – whose sponsors included the bank and the World Health Organization – that the region needed at least $8bn a year to provide safe drinking water and sanitation alone.

The bank’s Water Financing Programme, building on five years’ work under its Water for All policy, will be concentrated on infrastructure improvements.

It will aim at improving access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for about 200 million people; more productive and efficient irrigation and drainage, affecting 40 million people; reduced flooding risks, affecting about 100 million people; integrated water resources management in 25 river basins; and improved water governance through national water sector reforms.

The bank also recently provided a $41million loan to improve sustainable water supplies and sanitation for 1.6 million people in 16 Bangladeshi towns. The loan will back a $71.1m project to assist the government in achieving its United Nations Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction targets.

The project is intended to provide sanitation for the whole population by 2010, at the same time educating communities on the link between hygiene and health and building community, school and public latrines.

At present 22 per cent of Bangladesh’s seven million tube wells are contaminated with arsenic above the government’s stated safety level.

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