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WB Approves US$100 Mln for Urban Water Management in Bengbu

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a loan of US$100 million to China to help improve the water supply and manage wastewater in a major urban area of Anhui Province -- around 400 kilometers west of Shanghai in the east of the country.

The Bengbu Integrated Environment Improvement Project will focus on improving water management in the middle and lower reaches of the Huai River Basin. The Bengbu Municipality – with a population of around 3.5 million — has experienced frequent flooding that interrupts the local economy while facing continuing challenges from industrial pollution, inadequate wastewater collection and treatment, and an unreliable water supply.

"The project provides a package of activities that support the local government's effort to address these difficult challenges," said project leader Ms. Wang Shenhua, a senior infrastructure specialist for the World Bank.

Specifically, the project will assist the Bengbu Municipality to adopt a comprehensive water resources management approach through flood control, storm drainage, water supply, wastewater collection, and environmental monitoring. It will also help initiate institutional reform in Bengbu's water sector.

To address industrial pollution, the project will introduce professional management services and load-based charges for industrial wastewater in one "model" industrial park. The aim is to replicate these approaches more widely if the model proves successful.

Efforts will be made to enhance cooperation between administrative districts and counties of Bengbu Municipality to optimize water infrastructure.

The project covers Bengbu City proper and three satellite counties: Guzhen, Huaiyuan and Wuhe. The total project cost is US$224 million with the World Bank contributing 45 percent.

(China Development Gateway March 12, 2008)

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