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Big Water Boost

Big Water Boost
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with the Vice President of the European Investment Bank responsible for development and lending operations in the Pacific, Ambroise Fayolle, during the signing in Bonn, Germany. Photo: Office of the Attorney-General
November 12
12:14 2017

Fiji has signed a US$75 million (FJ$156.4 million) loan for a 20-year term from the European Investment Bank. It will finance part of the massive water upgrading works the Government will undertake to modernise water supply and sewerage plants to meet the growing demand in greater Suva area.

This is the largest European Investment Bank support for water investment in a small island state and the largest loan in the Pacific, which signals the confidence the Bank has in Fiji’s financial standing.

The Fiji Water and Wastewater Project is funded through a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) – US$153.2m (FJ$319.5m), EIB – US$75m (FJ$156.4m), a grant by Green Climate Fund – US$31m (FJ$64m) and Government funding – US$150.1m (FJ$313m). The project will be implemented in two tranches.  The total cost of the project is US$405m (FJ$844m).                                                           

In the presence of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and COP23 President and climate leaders from around the world, the 20-year EIB loan was formally signed at the EIB Pavilion at COP23 by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the Vice President of the European Investment Bank responsible for development and lending operations in the Pacific, Ambroise Fayolle.

The project will strengthen resilience of water distribution and wastewater treatment following Cyclone Winston – the world’s second strongest storm ever recorded, that hit Fiji in February 2016.

It follows extensive due diligence by the Asian Development Bank and represents the first EIB co-financing with the Green Climate Fund.

“This project aims to improve access to sustainable water supply and sewerage services to Fijians in the greater Suva area, taking into account the increasing population and the need for more resilient infrastructure. Access to financing such projects, which take into account adaptation and the effects of climate change, is a key objective for Fiji’s Presidency of COP23,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The proposed program concerns high-priority investments in water supply and wastewater collection and treatment to provide safe water and sewerage services to the urban population of the greater Suva area) where approximately 224,000 people live.”

The water project will increase the current capacity of water supply from 150 mega litres to 190 mega litres in the greater Suva area to meet the growing demand.

It will build infrastructure to increase water production by 26 per cent and wastewater treatment capacity by 164 per cent in the area.

The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) will be supported to improve the efficiency of its operations and quality of service delivery including reducing non–revenue water water demand management and liquid trade waste programme. The programme will also support the Government to develop and implement policy and regulatory reforms for water and sewerage services to make WAF a more sustainable and accountable institution.

Technical assistance funded by ADB for capacity development was provided to prepare the investments.

“As the bank of the European Union, the European Investment Bank recognises the crucial importance of investing in water and improving access to clean water and sanitation worldwide. Small island states are vulnerable to a changing climate as witnessed by the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston in Fiji last year. We are pleased to support transformation water investment on the island of Viti Levu that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Fijians and better protect key services from extreme weather.” said Mr Fayolle.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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