US$4 million loan for water project

US$4 million loan for water project

MASERU – THE Global Environment Facility (GEF) and African Development Bank (AfDB) have approved a US$4 million (about M52 million) loan for Lesotho’s water supply and sanitation project.

The GEF and AfDB have also approved US$2.6 million (about M33.8 million) for the same project in Malawi.
The joint statement by the GEF and AfDB was issued on Tuesday.

The statement said the funds were mobilized under the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) of the GEF.
The two projects will contribute towards addressing constraints in the African Water and Sanitation Sector, more specifically constraints related to exploding peri-urban areas.
The projects will also contribute towards economic growth, regulation of costs of water provision and the water stress caused by increasing climate change and variability.

“Improved Water and Sanitation Supply is therefore identified as a priority intervention area in the National Adaptation Plans for Action of the two countries,” the statement reads.
The first project is the Climate Adaptation for Sustainable Water Supply in Malawi which will be financed by the GEF for an indicative amount of US$2.6 million (about M33.8 million) co-financed by the AfDB to the tune of US $39.5 million (about M515.5 million).

The project is aimed at enhancing the sustainability of the water supply in the river courses and climate proofing the water resources outputs of the baseline investment in five districts of Rumphi, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu, Mangochi and Phalombe.
Malawi receives an average of 850 millimetres of rainfall per year.

However, the distribution and consistency of the rainfall is very erratic and uneven making Malawi prone to hydrological droughts.
Malawi’s strategic water resources are vulnerable to the effects of climate change because of the high frequency of extreme droughts and floods, in addition to pollution pressures from untreated wastewater and other sources.

Droughts in Malawi result in reduced river flow rates, and the complete drying up of rivers.
The water table also recedes, thereby affecting boreholes and wells which are major sources of potable water in rural areas.

“This project thus supports the implementation of alternative options for ensuring adequate water supply and sanitation services for rural communities,” reads the statement.
The second project is the Climate Change Adaptation for Sustainable Rural Water Supply in Lowlands of Lesotho, which will be financed by GEF to the tune of US $4.4 million (about M57.2 million) and co-financed by the AfDB to the tune of US $17 million (about M221 million).

The project will improve livelihoods of the communities of the south-western lowlands facing challenges related to climate change with a particular emphasis on better resources management.

The project will benefit 65 000 inhabitants of the area, who are currently served with inadequate levels of safe water supply and sanitation.
Water and sanitation problems in the lowlands of Lesotho have been exacerbated by extreme and frequent drought occurrence.

The overall diminishing amount of rainfall is a source of grave concern for the sustainability of sources of domestic water.
This has had dire consequences for the well-being of the people in the region particularly vulnerable rural communities.
The burgeoning rural communities also place mounting pressure on the already precarious water resources.

“This project thus supports additional measures to increase the resilience of drinking water availability in vulnerable areas through supply-augmenting and demand-control measures, combined with the protection of micro-watersheds and water supply sources from climate-induced droughts and floods,” the statement reads.

“Through this funding from the GEF/LDCF, the AfDB will support communities in Malawi and Lesotho to improve their resilience to climate change and ability to respond to drought and floods conditions while supporting the construction of more resilient infrastructure and more sustainable natural resource management practices” stated Anthony Nyong, AfDB Director for Climate Change and Green Growth.

“The AfDB is committed to triple its annual climate finance to reach US$5 billion (about M65 billion) annually by 2020, thereby scaling up adaptation finance in Africa.”
Since 2007, the partnership between the AfDB-GEF has grown fast, working to generate climate smart and transformational change in Africa.

The AfDB’s GEF portfolio has grown tenfold over the past five years and presently includes 37 projects in 33 countries for a total US$303 million (about M3.9 billion) in GEF grants for 37 projects for implementation by the Bank.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 countries – in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector — to address global environmental issues.

Staff Reporter

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