World Bank Finances Water Supply Infrastructure as Countries Plan for Water Scarcity
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The World Bank has announced financing for several water infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia.

The World Bank has also released a working paper that presents findings on the impacts of climate change on water availability.

Also on water availability, UNECE and partners are supporting Algeria, Libya and Tunisia to jointly manage scare groundwater resources.

August 2017: The World Bank has granted financing for water infrastructure in urban growth centers in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and for integrated water resource management (IWRM) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). World Bank research projects water scarcity in areas that were formerly water-abundant, including Central Africa and East Asia, while water-scarce areas will experience more severe shortages. In the arid Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and partners are supporting Algeria, Libya and Tunisia to jointly manage scare groundwater resources.

World Bank financing for water is providing:

  • US$25 million for the Government of Lao PDR to implement IWRM. This project builds on an earlier phase that included drafting of a new water law, river basin modeling, irrigation, flood control, and fisheries management.
  • US$20 million for the Zimbabwe National Water Project (ZINWA), for improving water supply and sanitation infrastructure in seven centers of urban growth. The funds will also support technical assistance to ZINWA for creating a National Water Resources Master Plan and establish a regulatory authority for water services.
  • US$47.5 million for water supply and sanitation infrastructure in Chittagong, Bangladesh, as an interest-free loan. This amount builds on existing project financing to Bangladesh for water, totaling US$218.50 million.

A World Bank working paper finds that water-scarce regions could lose as much as 6% of GDP by 2050 due to the impacts of water scarcity.

Recent World Bank research has warned that the impacts of climate change on water availability around the world will be severe. The authors of a World Bank working paper titled, ‘High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy’, caution that water-scarce regions, such as the Middle East and the Sahel in Africa, could lose as much as 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050 due to the impacts of water scarcity.

Addressing the problem of water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the UNECE and partners organized a workshop in July to support the joint management of shared groundwater in the North-West Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS). The aquifer is shared by Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. The two-day workshop drew over 50 participants from government agencies in the three countries responsible for energy, agriculture, water, and public utilities. Workshop participants called for: monitoring water availability in a timely manner; managing water demand, including through price measures; using renewable energy for water pumping and treatment; modernizing infrastructure; and reorienting economic development away from industries that require high water usage. They also discussed reinvigorating the existing NWSAS ‘Coordination Mechanism. ’ UNECE, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) Mediterranean, and the Sahara and Sahel Observatory jointly organized the workshop. The groups are also collaborating on a study on this area. [World Bank Press Release on Lao PDR Project] [World Bank Press Release on Zimbabwe Project] [World Bank Press Release on Bangladesh Project] [Publication: High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy] [UNECE Press Release]

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