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10 May 2010

Asian lender offers $6.6m to help Laos’ water supply expansion

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping the Lao PDR by providing a $6.6 million supplementary grant to the Lao government in underserved areas in four northern provinces of Laos, to improve living standards, provide water supply services and improve environmental conditions, according to state news agency KPL.

An agreement for the supplementary grant was formally signed in Vientiane last Friday by the Lao Deputy Minister of Finance, Mme. Viengthong Siphandone and the ADB’s Lao PDR Resident Mission Officer in charge, Barend Frielink in presence of government officials from related line ministries.

The grant provides increased financing for the Northern and Central Regions’ Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project, which is currently being implemented. The increased budget is required due to higher than projected growth rate of the population, the increased per capita water demand and increased costs.

The supplementary grant is also needed to allow the government to implement phase three of the project.

“The project will significantly improve livelihoods and productivity of poor villagers in the northern region by providing opportunities to poor households to access clean water while protecting environment conditions,” said Frielink.

The supplementary grant allows the original project scope to improve accessibility, quality, reliability, and sustainability of water supply services and environmental conditions in four districts of four provinces of Namkeung of Bokeo, Namtha of Luang Namtha, Namor of Oudomsay and Ngoi of Luang Probang to be fully implemented.

The project will provide 24 hour-piped water to about 30,000 residents in the core towns and will also improve the average sanitation coverage in target communities to 65 per cent of the households by 2012 and 80 per cent by 2017.

The project will also help improve the priority roads and bridges and all-weather access to markets, commercial areas, and government facilities.

The Department of Housing and Urban Planning of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is the executive agency for the project, which is due for the completion in March 2012.

The Northern and Central Regions Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project is one of prioritised projects which aimed at constructing and developing urban and rural infrastructure, and the project has been implemented under the responsibility of Ministry of Public Works and Transport since 2006, said Mme. Viengthong.

The objectives of the project are to improve quality of life of residents in small towns, enhance small towns as market, service and manufacturing centres supporting the rural hinterland, and improve accessibility quality, reliability and sustainability of water supply services in about 12 small towns in the northern and central regions of Laos, which are implementing in three phases to cover all 12 towns, she added.



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