Loan Agreement Signed for Water Sector Investment Project
TIRANA, January 16, 2014 – The Government of Albania and the World Bank today signed the loan agreement for a Water Sector Investment Project, totaling US$85.3 million. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Republic of Albania by Minister of Finance Shkëlqim Cani and on behalf of the World Bank by Country Manager Tahseen Sayed. The ceremony was held at Municipality of Durres in the presence of the Prime Minister Edi Rama, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Edmond Haxhinasto, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Europe Ellen Goldstein, Mayor of Durres, heads of local government units as well as members of the staff who prepared the project. This project was approved on December 20, 2013, by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
The project will help improve the quality of water and wastewater services in the coastal city of Durres area, and improve the financial performance of its water utility. The Project aims to upgrade and expand the existing water supply and sewerage network in Durres, the country’s second largest city, one of the main tourist destinations, and primary port. This will be achieved through investments in the water supply network and construction of water transmission pipeline to link villages to the city’s water supply system and reduce losses in the water distribution network. In addition, the project will support investments in the sewerage network and its transfer capacity from the touristic beach area to the newly constructed Durres Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The government has paid high attention to the water sector and the Durres area as a priority in its Government Program. “This is a transformation that starts today and, in the near future, will become tangible to the citizens and inhabitants of the area in their daily life, as from a water supply of approximately 6 hours per day – maybe a bit more for some, but not at all for some others – the community of this area will have regular water supply”, said Prime Minister Rama. “On the other hand, this area of touristic potential, mentioned always as the city of tourism, will not be anymore an area where embarrassingly the sewage is discharged into the sea and where people swim into the sea and sewage. This is a story we have committed to end and will bring to an end as soon as possible. A new chapter of normality will start, where it will seem as this problem has never existed before, because it will be part of the past”.
“The project investments will nearly double the supply of water to Durres, covering the region water needs through 2030,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Europe. This agreement will also build institutional capacity and better systems to manage water supply and wastewater treatment. In particular we want to support a new partnership between central and local governments, so that local governments are empowered over time to manage water utilities and take responsibilities for delivering water services directly to their population”.
The Government of Albania and the World Bank have worked together in several projects to improve water supply and wastewater management, to strengthen capacities and implement institutional reforms in the sector.