The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of $96.3 million (approximately Rs 770 crore) to finance a drinking water and sanitation project in Himachal Pradesh.
The loan was provided under the Himachal Pradesh Rural Drinking Water and Livelihoods Improvement Project, the AfDB said in a statement released on Saturday.
Over 90% of the state’s rural population has access to safe drinking water, but the water supply infrastructure is old and deteriorated, resulting in inefficient and poor quality service.
The ADB project will connect 75,800 households to the service, providing uninterrupted water supply to approximately 370,000 residents in 10 districts.
“The project meets the objectives of the Jal Jeevan Mission, a national flagship program of the Government of India, which aims to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024,” said Jude Kohlhase, Head of Unit. AfDB from the administration of the project on urban development and water. for South Asia.
The project will improve water supply infrastructure and build institutional capacity to deliver safe, sustainable and inclusive rural water supply and sanitation services, Kohlhase said.
The Manila-based funding agency said the project will improve water supply and sanitation services through, among other things, the construction of 48 groundwater wells, 80 surface water intake facilities , 109 water treatment plants, 117 pumping stations and 3,000 kilometers of water supply pipelines. .
A faecal sludge management and remediation pilot program will also be implemented in Sirmaur district, benefiting 250,000 residents and to determine replicability and guide the design of future projects, he said.
To ensure effective delivery and sustainability of services, the project will strengthen the capacity of the Government of Himachal Pradesh’s ‘Jal Shakti Vibhag’ and village water and sanitation committees of the gram panchayat (local government).
It will support state government water tariff policy reforms and introduce a state-level asset management system and district asset management plans.
Key project stakeholders and community organizations will be trained in water management, including livelihood skills training for women’s self-help groups.
The project will also raise public awareness of the health benefits of improved water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, the AfDB said.
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