News Releases

Sep 21, 2006

IDB approves $15 million for rural water and sanitation in Haiti

Program will give priority to small communities without access to improved services

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of a $15 million soft loan for a program to expand drinking water and sanitation services to rural communities in Haiti the country with the lowest level of domestic water consumption in the Western Hemisphere.

The program, which will be carried out by the National Potable Water Service (SNEP), is expected to directly benefit some 90,000 people in the departments of Artibonite, Grand’ Anse, Nippes and Ouest, including the island of La Gonâve, where average consumption of water is around seven liters per person a day, nearly one-third of the basic minimum recommended by the World Health Organization.

The SNEP and the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication (MTPTC) selected these departments based on their critical situation and low levels of investment in this sector over the past decade.

“Low coverage of potable water and sanitation limits economic development and takes a huge toll on the poor, especially women and children in rural areas who have the chore of fetching water. This is why the program targets specifically small rural communities without access to these services,” said IDB project team leader Diego Arias.

Priority for investments will be given to communities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants and lacking improved water and sanitation systems. Communities will decide through a participatory process whether they want to take part in the program, choose the systems best suited to their needs and capacity to operate and maintain them, and establish local water user committees to run the services.

To ensure the sustainability of the systems, communities will establish cost recovery mechanisms to cover operation and maintenance expenses. The program will finance training in basic management skills for local committee members as well as promote women’s participation and awareness of public health and environmental issues.

The program will also provide resources for strengthening the SNEP, which is responsible for drinking water and sanitation services in Haiti’s interior. Another government agency, CAMEP, is responsible for the capital region of Port-au-Prince.

Through previous loans to Haiti the IDB is currently supporting a program to expand drinking water and sanitation services in five secondary cities. It has also financed small-scale water and sanitation projects under a local development program run by the Haitian government’s Fund for Social and Economic Assistance (FAES).

In preparing the new program the IDB coordinated closely with other international agencies and donors involved in expanding water and sanitation services in Haiti, in particular the World Bank, which may provide up to $5 million in parallel financing for this new initiative.

The IDB loan is for 40 years, with a 10-year grace period. Interest rates will be 1 percent a year during the first decade and 2 percent a year thereafter.

 

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