ADB approves $180 million loan to improve Pakistan’s urban environment


MANILA — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $180 million loan to improve water supply and solid waste management services in two rapidly growing cities in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Expected to benefit as many as 1.5 million people, the Developing Resilient Environments and Advancing Municipal Services in Punjab Project will curtail excessive groundwater extraction and urban environment degradation by expanding and modernizing urban water supply in Rawalpindi and solid waste management systems in Bahawalpur, the bank said in a press release.

“This project will help make municipal services in these two cities more sustainable, resilient, and less carbon-intensive,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov. “By helping to deliver reliable water supply and improving waste management, we expect to significantly improve the lives of people in Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur.” 

In Rawalpindi, the project will help build new surface water intakes and a water treatment plant with a capacity of 54 million liters a day. It will lay transmission and distribution pipes to serve 82,000 households with metered connections. The financing will also upgrade water pumps and transmission mains to augment surface water supply and establish three pilot district metering areas to enhance operational efficiency.

In Bahawalpur, solid waste collection will be improved through the procurement of waste collection equipment and a new fleet to expand service coverage, to be supported by the new fleet management information system. The project will construct a facility for recycling as well as a floodproof landfill while the existing dump site will be rehabilitated. The financing will also enable the provision of personal protective equipment for informal sector workers.

“Aside from improving infrastructure services, ADB’s project will help enhance the operational efficiency, inclusivity, and financial sustainability of Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency and Bahawalpur Waste Management Company,” said ADB Urban Development Specialist Xijie Lu. “We also aimed to be innovative, with some of the project’s components featuring renewable technologies, cost-recovery interventions, and behavioral change and communication elements.”

ADB will also administer a $1 million technical assistance provided by the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund, to strengthen the capacity of the Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency to address leakages in the city’s water supply network.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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