EU funds minister inks EUR 593.2 million financing contract for regional water, wastewater project
Romania’s Minister of European Funds Rovana Plumb has recently signed a financing contract worth around EUR 593.2 million for a regional project to develop drinking water, sewerage, and wastewater infrastructure in six counties in the country.
The contract will finance works for the rehabilitation and extension of water supply networks in Constanta, Ialomita, Calarasi, Dambovita, Brasov, and Ilfov. The program will be implemented through 50 contracts on works and four contracts on services, according to local media.
According to Felix Stroe, General Manager of RAJA, Romania’s largest public water and wastewater utility, 726 kilometers of water supply networks will be extended and rehabilitated as part of the project, with 48 water treatment plants to be built and rehabilitated.
One in three users in rural areas have access to running water
Around 67% of Romania’s population, or 13.2 million people, were served by the public water supply system in 2017, according to the official statistics.
In urban areas, the percentage was at 96.9%, accounting for 10.2 million people. However, in rural areas, only a little over 3 million, or 33.5% of the rural population, had access to running water.
EBRD signs EUR 25 million loan to help improve water, wastewater services
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently signed a EUR 25 million loan to help improve water and wastewater services and reduce water losses in Romania, according to a news release from the lender.
The loan that the EBRD is providing to RAJA will be backed by EU funds, the bank said after the loan agreement was signed by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and RAJA General Manager Felix Stroe.
RAJA serves over 3 million people in eight counties: Constanta, Ialomița, Calarasi, Ilfov, Dambovita, Brasov, Prahova, and Bacau.
The loan will be used to co-finance with EU Cohesion funds an extension and rehabilitation of the company’s water and wastewater services and will benefit 400,000 households. The financing will also support a water efficiency program which aims to reduce water losses by more than 300.000 m3 per year and cut 8,400 tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2025, according to the news release.
RAJA is the first regional water operator in Romania to receive financing under the EBRD Sustainable Water Infrastructure Facility (SWIFT) framework. To date, the EBRD has financed 24 water operators in Romania, providing a total of EUR 330 million in loans and mobilizing over EUR 2 billion of EU funding for the country’s water and wastewater facilities, according to the news release.