IDB approves multi-million dollar loan for The Bahamas
The Inter-American Development Bank said the money would be used for a five-year programme to improve water pressure, quality, and volume for 38,000 households on New Providence.
NASSAU, The Bahamas, Wednesday November 23, 2011 - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$81 million loan for The Bahamas to overhaul major parts of the water infrastructure on the island of New Providence.
The money will be used to improve water pressure, quality, and volume for 38,000 households, a release from the IDB stated.
The five-year programme is expected to cut in half the amount of water lost through leakages.
It would also conserve drinking water and improve financial sustainability for local water suppliers.
The release stated that 6,000 leaks will be repaired and 9,000 new water connections will be activated by the end of the project.
It said water pressure and continuity are expected to rise significantly, leading to better service for the 38,000 households that are already connected to the water network.
“The Bahamas has by far the lowest ratio of fresh water to population in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Evan Cayetano, project team leader at the IDB.
“The amount of available fresh water per capita is less than 0.1 percent of the regional average, which highlights the need for action in this sector.”
The operation will establish a new independent environmental regulator to protect the country’s scarce fresh water resources, as well as a new economic regulator.
It also seeks to strengthen management of the Water and Sewerage Corporation, the country’s main provider of water services.
The program will also target potential health hazards by rehabilitating broken sewerage infrastructure and coming up with a master plan to address wastewater collection and treatment in New Providence.
The IDB loan is for 25 years, with a five-year grace period and a variable interest rate based on London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).