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EDB’s new report highlights drinking water supply and sanitation investment needs in Central Asia

  • EDB’s new report highlights drinking water supply and sanitation investment needs in Central Asia

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) has released a comprehensive report titled “Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation in Central Asia”, highlighting the critical state of water and sanitation in the region, where almost 10 million people do not have access to safe drinking water. The analysis estimates the region requires an additional $2 billion in annual investment to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030.

Despite the volume of water withdrawal for municipal and domestic needs doubling between 1994 and 2020, investments in water supply infrastructure have not kept pace. This has led to significant wear and tear on existing facilities, with up to 80% of equipment in poor condition and water losses in distribution networks reaching as high as 55%.

To address these challenges, the report outlines a comprehensive approach that includes attracting international financing, enhancing private sector involvement, and reforming the tariff system. International financial organizations and multilateral development banks are seen as crucial to closing the investment gap, which is projected to be $12 billion over the next six years. The report also stresses the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in fostering more effective cooperation and improving market competitiveness.

Furthermore, adjusting water tariffs, which are currently very low, is recommended to enhance the financial sustainability of water and sanitation companies. This could stimulate further investment in infrastructure improvements and service quality. The EDB suggests that tariff setting and review functions could be delegated to sector companies, with oversight by local or independent regulatory bodies, while maintaining subsidies for low-income populations.

Investing in water and sanitation infrastructure is not only essential for public health and social well-being but also has significant economic benefits. The report indicates that every dollar invested in these projects could generate three additional dollars for the economy, underscoring the substantial multiplier effect of such investments.

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