The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a substantial $180 million loan designated for the improvement of water supply and solid waste management systems in two rapidly growing cities within Punjab province, Pakistan.
Anticipated to directly benefit up to 1.5 million residents, the ‘Advancing Municipal Services and Building Resilient Environments in Punjab Project’ aims to alleviate pressure on groundwater resources and address urban environmental degradation. The project’s primary objectives include the expansion and modernization of water supply services in Rawalpindi and the strengthening of solid waste management systems in Bahawalpur, according to an official statement released by the bank.
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Yevgeniy Zhukov, ADB’s Director General for Central and West Asia, expressed confidence in the project’s potential, stating, “This initiative will contribute to making municipal services in these two cities more sustainable, resilient, and less carbon-intensive. By ensuring a reliable water supply and enhancing waste management, we expect to significantly improve the quality of life for the residents of Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur.
The proposed improvements in Rawalpindi include the construction of new surface water intakes and a water treatment plant capable of processing 54 million liters per day. Moreover, transmission and distribution pipelines will be laid to serve 82,000 households with metered connections. The financing will also facilitate the upgrade of water pumps and transmission mains, enhancing operational efficiency through the establishment of three pilot district metering areas.
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In Bahawalpur, the project prioritizes enhancing solid waste collection services. It includes procuring advanced waste collection equipment and expanding service coverage through a new fleet, supported by an innovative fleet management information system. The initiative plans to build a recycling facility and a floodproof landfill, alongside the rehabilitation of existing dump sites. Additionally, the project aims to provide personal protective equipment for informal sector workers.
ADB’s Urban Development Specialist, Xijie Lu, emphasized the broader impact of the project, stating, “Aside from improving infrastructure services, ADB’s project will help enhance the operational efficiency, inclusivity, and financial sustainability of Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency and Bahawalpur Waste Management Company. We also aimed to be innovative, with some of the project’s components featuring renewable technologies, cost-recovery interventions, and behavioral change and communication elements.”
To reinforce these efforts, ADB will oversee a $1 million technical assistance program funded by the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund. This aid will bolster the capacity of the Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency to address leakages within the city’s water supply network.
With a commitment to fostering prosperity, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region, ADB, established in 1966 and currently comprising 68 member countries, remains dedicated to eradicating extreme poverty while driving forward its initiatives.