The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $96.3-million loan agreement to provide safe drinking water and improve water supply and sanitation services in Himachal Pradesh.
The signatories for the Himachal Pradesh Rural Drinking Water Improvement and Livelihood project were Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs. He signed on behalf of Government of India and Takeo Konishi, Country Director for ADB in India, who signed for ADB.
After signing the loan agreement, Mishra stated that the project is aligned with the objectives of the Government of India’s Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024 and it will upgrade water supply infrastructure and strengthen institutional capacity to ensure safe, sustainable, and inclusive rural water supply and sanitation services.
“ADB’s involvement in the project will provide water management best practices, strengthen institutional capacity, and guide tariff reform,” added Konishi. “These interventions will address the government’s aim of providing uninterrupted pressurised water supply to households, inclusive sanitation services, strengthening operation and maintenance for sustainable service delivery, and building capacity of relevant staff.”
More than 90% of the state’s rural population have access to drinking water, but the water supply infrastructure needs revamping, to result in efficient and improved service quality. The ADB project will connect 75,800 households to the service, providing uninterrupted water supply to about 3,70,000 residents across 10 districts. To improve water supply and sanitation services, the project aims to construct 48 groundwater wells, 80 surface water intake facilities, 109 water treatment plants, 117 pumping stations, and 3,000 km of water distribution pipelines. A pilot faecal sludge management and sanitation programme will also be implemented in Sirmaur district, benefiting 250,000 residents.
The project will strengthen the capacity of the Jal Shakti vibhag of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and gram panchayat (local government) village water and sanitation committees. It will support the state governments water tariff policy reforms and introduce an asset management system at the state-level and district asset management plans. Key project stakeholders and community-based organisations will be trained on water management, including livelihood skills training for women self-help groups.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members-49 from the region.