Residents in the Smolyan region in southern Bulgaria will benefit from access to improved water and wastewater services thanks to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) investment combined with EU funds.
The EBRD is providing a loan of up to €5.8 million to the Smolyan Water Supply and Sanitation Company. The financing comprises €3.1 million from the EBRD and €2.7 million from the European Union’s European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The EU will further co-finance the investment with €34.8 million in grants.
The project will help to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bulgaria, where vital infrastructure providers are under enormous pressure to deliver vital services while facing financial constraints.
The operation will modernise and extend municipal services in line with EU directives for the population of the Smolyan district. The investment will reduce potable water losses, increase the share of the population connected to the sewer system to 99 per cent and increase the volume of wastewater treated before being discharged.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of hygiene and sanitation, which cannot be achieved without high-quality water and wastewater infrastructure. The provision of clean drinking water and effective sanitation remain critical utility services for safeguarding human health and the environment even after countries pass the peak of the crisis.
Through technical cooperation the project will also promote better management of municipal assets as well as help to strengthen the company’s financial and operational performance.
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