BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 23. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is financing further improvements in the water supply and treatment services of Kazakhstan’s third-largest city, Shymkent, Trend reports citing the EBRD.
The Bank is providing fresh funds to the country’s privately owned municipal water utility, Vodnye Resoursy Marketing (VRM), responsible for serving nearly 1.1 million inhabitants.
The 13-year EBRD loan of up to KZT 3.3 billion (more than €7 million) will help VRM finance its priority investment programme, including the extension of its wastewater treatment plant (by 50,000 m3 daily) and the rehabilitation of wastewater networks. The project will benefit from a similarly sized grant from the government of Kazakhstan.
On completion, the wastewater treatment facility will see a 33 percent increase in capacity and VRM will be able to add 240,000 residents to the network. The project has the dual objective of meeting growing demand for water treatment services and improving the quality of discharged wastewater.
Earlier this year, Shymkent joined the EBRD Green Cities programme. This investment is a trigger project for the Shymkent Green City Action Plan (GCAP), a crucial tool that helps the municipality set out its sustainable development vision and strategic objectives, as well as the actions and investments required to address high-priority environmental issues.
EBRD Vice President Alain Pilloux said: “Our work with VRM is a perfect illustration of why the EBRD is such a strong advocate of private-sector involvement in municipal utilities. Over many years, we have enjoyed excellent cooperation with this company, which has translated into high-quality water supply services for more than 1 million residents of Shymkent. Clearly, this is a benchmark for the rest of Kazakhstan.”
The EBRD has been working with Shymkent Vodokanal, managed by VRM, since 2009. It has provided almost €60 million through five projects to improve Shymkent’s water supply and treatment network. This cooperation has enabled the installation of an automated network monitoring system, the replacement of 171.5 km of water distribution pipes, improved power supply at 12 pumping stations, the construction of 11 electrical substations and the installation of an EU standards-compliant biogas facility.
This year, 2022, marks 30 years since Kazakhstan joined the EBRD. With more than €10 billion invested in the country to date through almost 300 projects, this is the Bank’s largest and longest-running uninterrupted banking operation in Central Asia.