The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved two grants and a loan for the drinking water and sanitation program of the Department of La Guajira, in northern Colombia, for a total of $62.75 million.
The funds consist of a non-reimbursable donation from the Bank for $7.75 million; another non-reimbursable donation of $5 million from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); and a loan from the IDB's ordinary capital for 182 million Colombian pesos (about $50 million).
This assistance will support the efforts of the Colombian government to achieve the objectives of the Guajira Azul program, which aims to improve the population's access to continuous potable water and adequate sanitation.
The specific goals of the program are to increase the coverage and quality of drinking water and sanitation services in urban areas of the Department of La Guajira, particularly those most affected by recent migration; improve the management capacity of local providers; and support their regionalization process.
"The support of the Bank and SDC is essential because it will benefit many of the 900,000 residents of La Guajira, most of whom live in poverty," said Edgar Orellana Arévalo, project team leader. "The aid is even more urgent now due to the influx of Venezuelan immigrants, to which are added the effects of the coronavirus pandemic," he added.
Within five years, the program aims to practically double drinking water coverage in urban areas, from the current 20 percent to 38 percent, and ensure a minimum supply of eight hours a day. It also aims to increase home access to sewerage networks from 25 percent to 27 percent. Infrastructure will be built to protect 700 homes from floods in the municipality of Fonseca.
In addition to improving the management capacity of local providers of these services, the program has a gender component aimed at increasing the participation of women in training campaigns on health education and efficient use of water and sanitation services, and in technical training in plumbing and masonry.
The loan for 182 million Colombian pesos (about $50 million), from the ordinary capital of the IDB, is for a term of 14 years and 9 months, with a grace period of the same duration, and at a variable interest rate based on the local IBR index. The executing agency is the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory of Colombia.