The European Investment Bank (EIB), bank of the European Union, will invest €80 million to improve water distribution system in the Municipality of Tirana, enabling continuous availability of drinking water for over 800,000 people and reduction of water losses. Provided under Team Europe’s support, this investment will modernize water management efficiency, improve water supply security and contribute to better health and environmental conditions in the capital, which is to increase resilience to climate changes and promote economic growth.
The project will modernise the existing distribution network and provide continuous, reliable, long-term water supply service in the city, with the Guri I Bardhe transmission line and the Tirana high-pressure water supply ring. It will also improve quality of the drinking water by eliminating the system of small personal reservoirs built on the roofs, which have high risk of water contamination. The investment comes under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, aiming to mobilise finance to support growth, job creation, vital infrastructure projects and social cohesion in the EU’s neighbouring regions.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, responsible for the Western Balkans, said: “Today, we are making an important step towards better living conditions for people of Tirana. We are glad to invest in safer and healthier future of Albania, at the same time contributing to faster recovery from devastating earthquake from 2019 and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud of existing partnership with the Government of Albania and the City of Tirana, which allowed us to address challenges arising from fast-growing urbanisation and insufficient water distribution system. This project will enable security of water supply for all and bring the country closer to its environmental, urban development and climate action goals. Together with the Team Europe, we are ready to continue supporting faster social and economic development of Albania and look forward to developing new projects for the country.”
This project will enable security of water supply for all and bring the country closer to its environmental, urban development and climate action goals
Ambassador Luigi Soreca, Head of EU Delegation to Albania, stated: “This new investment project is a major EU contribution to Albania’s efforts to improve the performance of its water services as well as to ensure continuous and safe water supply to Tirana’s inhabitants. Europe is here to assist Albanians for an improved quality of life, stronger public health and reduced energy costs as Tirana becomes more resilient and adapts to climate change. We are happy to be able to help Albania align progressively with EU standards.”
Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj said: “This is a larger agreement of €144.5 million that guarantees on the one hand the modernisation of water supply infrastructure and on the other hand, uninterrupted 24-hour water supply for almost 1 million inhabitants of the city of Tirana. Over the last two years together with the EIB and the Municipality of Tirana we have undertaken a careful and detailed work to reach the finalisation of the project. I am happy that this project goes to one of the priority sectors of the Albanian Government, as part of a comprehensive reform and of our ambition to increase the quality of life of citizens, in this case by providing 24 hours of drinking water.”
Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj said: “We are like night and day in comparison to what we found previously: the water supply network resembled a colander, where water was regularly stolen, cars were washed with drinking water, and maize was watered with drinking water. Initially we had to recover the losses, have a more efficient enterprise, so that it would no longer be a militant parking lot, but an enterprise with a mission to serve. Now I can proudly say that the enterprise not only has the best performance in Albania, but today, it is an enterprise that has managed to pay back its loans itself, and now has more sound finances. However, we are still far from our ambition for Tirana to have water 24 hours a day, but this is our plan for 2024. Today, we have signed the largest loan in the history of Tirana’s water supply as a way to put our investment calendar in fifth gear. In the next 2-3 years, we anticipate opening a construction site to lay 45km of pipelines in Tirana, as well as providing a high-pressure supply ring, which will give us the opportunity to supply all units with the same amount of water, even the neighbourhoods of Tirana furthest away, especially the newer neighbourhoods and special areas such as “Astir”, “Fresku” and “Liqeni i Thatë”.
The bank has already worked with the Municipality of Tirana on its first urban redevelopment project in Albania for Lana riverfront in 2019, that help reduce the pollution in the Lana River and reorganise streets and urban space near both banks.