ADB approves $96 mn loan for safe drinking water project in Himachal Pradesh

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a USD 96.3 million (about Rs 770 crore) loan to fund safe drinking water and sanitation project in Himachal Pradesh.

The loan has been provided under the Himachal Pradesh Rural Drinking Water Improvement and Livelihood Project.

It said more than 90 per cent of the state’s rural population have access to drinking water, but the water supply infrastructure is old and deteriorated, resulting in inefficient and poor service quality.

The ADB project will connect 75,800 households to the service, providing uninterrupted water supply to about 370,000 residents across 10 districts.

The project meets the objectives of the Jal Jeevan Mission, a national flagship programme of Government of India, which aims to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024.

The project will upgrade water supply infrastructure and strengthen institutional capacity to ensure safe, sustainable, and inclusive rural water supply and sanitation services.

The ADB said the project will improve water supply and sanitation services through, among others, the construction of 48 groundwater wells, 80 surface water intake facilities, 109 water treatment plants, 117 pumping stations, and 3,000 kilometers of water distribution pipelines.

A pilot fecal sludge management and sanitation programme will also be implemented in Sirmaur district, benefitting 250,000 residents and to determine replicability and guide the design of future projects, it said.

To ensure efficient delivery and sustainability of services, the project will strengthen the capacity of the ‘Jal Shakti Vibhag’ of Himachal Pradesh government and gram panchayat (local government) village water and sanitation committees.

It will support the state government’s water tariff policy reforms and introduce an asset management system at the state-level and district asset management plans.

The key project stakeholders and community-based organizations will be trained on water management, including livelihood skills training for women self-help groups.

The project will also raise public awareness on the health benefits from improved water supply, sanitation, and hygiene practices.