The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$ 300 million loan to expand and improve water and sanitation services in Metropolitan Buenos Aires, particularly in the most vulnerable areas. An additional US$ 120 million will be available for the construction of social housing, benefiting nearly 10,000 inhabitants of Buenos Aires Province.
"In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to increase efforts to ensure universal access to water and sanitation networks, as well as adequate housing, for the most vulnerable populations," said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. "This project will support the construction of a more inclusive, robust and resilient economy, and will allow 140,000 people to access the water network, 305,000 to access sewage networks and 10,000 to access better housing."
The Buenos Aires Water Supply and Sanitation for Vulnerable Areas Program will support the AySA Company in the building of infrastructure to provide drinking water and sanitation networks. It will also contribute to the improvement of sewage treatment in 20 suburban municipalities and the City of Buenos Aires.
Additionally, thanks to the restructuring of the Salado Integrated River Basin Management Support Project, which works to strengthen flood protection measures, new funds will be available to reduce the housing deficit in Buenos Aires Province while stimulating job creation in the construction sector.
In the Buenos Aires suburbs, 3.7 million people do not have access to water mains and 6.8 million do not have sewers. Additionally, in 2020, Buenos Aires Province estimated that it had a housing deficit of 3.8 million.
The project plans actions to respond to emergency situations in the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen AySA's capacity to mitigate the health impact on the population by increasing digital payment and claims tools, among others.
Additionally, 312,000 people will benefit from the reduction in water losses. To this end, the project will help improve AySA's efficiency by reducing leaks and optimizing energy use in pumping stations and deep wells. It will also support the installation of solar panels to generate energy on-site. These measures will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the methane gas produced in wastewater treatment.
The Buenos Aires Water Supply and Sanitation for Vulnerable Areas Program is financed with a variable-spread loan that supports results-based management, with specific indicators to measure compliance. The loan has a maturity period of 32 years, with a seven-year grace period.