ADB and Timor-Leste sign US$47M loan to provide water supply and sanitation services

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Timor-Leste have signed a US$47 million loan to help provide safe, reliable, and affordable water supply and sanitation services to about 62,000 people living in Lospalos, Viqueque, and Same.

The Water Supply and Sanitation Investment Project will finance the construction of new facilities for water supply and sanitation services, including 14 water reservoirs and seven water treatment plants. It will also help rehabilitate and expand 130km of the area’s water distribution network, install water meters for 10,000 households, and build 12 public toilets and three septage treatment facilities.

Sunil Mitra, country director for Timor-Leste for ADB, said: “A growing population is putting pressure on existing water sources and supply services in the three cities, which are operating beyond capacity. The project will make the cities more livable by building infrastructure to provide safe water and sanitation services, and strengthening governance and institutional capacity. The project will also help reduce poverty and inequality by installing free water connections for women, the poor, and vulnerable groups.”

The project will be co-financed by a $3 million grant from the Global Environmental Facility, which ADB will administer. The grant will finance the purchase of water meters, control systems, and other equipment, as well as consulting services aimed to strengthened the project’s climate resilience.

Timor-Leste’s urban population has increased 4.2% every year since 2008. Only 34% of urban residents had access to a piped water supply network as of 2015, and the water supply remains unreliable.

The project will help the Ministry of Public Works, the Municipal Water, Sanitation, and Environmental Services, and the new state-owned water utility Bee Timor-Leste (BTL) plan, deliver, operate, and maintain the country’s water supply and sanitation infrastructure in the long run. It will create a socially and gender-inclusive institutional development road map to guide the transfer of urban water supply and sanitation services to BTL. The project will enhance women’s participation in the water sector by providing training and developing a customer-service feedback mechanism.