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Venezuela to extend water and sanitation services to rural communities with help from IDB

$100 million IDB loan will benefit 11,000 low-income households in approximately 68 communities and small towns

Venezuela will improve or expand access to water and sanitation services to 11,000 households in up to 68 rural communities and small towns with a $100 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The program will prioritize low-income populations in rural communities and towns with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants, and will provide training and technical assistance to enable community organizations to sustainably manage and maintain the services.

“Venezuela has achieved high coverage levels in rural water and sanitation services,” said Verónica Zavala, manager of the IDB’s Country Department Andean Group. “With this program, the government will be even closer to achieving the ambitious goal of universal coverage.”

The program will have two components. The first will include measures to strengthen the capacity of local water and sanitation community organizations and service providers so that they can effectively contract and supervise infrastructure works and manage the services sustainably. This component will also include education activities in beneficiary communities, to ensure that stakeholders understand the public health and environmental benefits of water and sanitation services.

The second component will finance technical studies, project design, construction, expansion and rehabilitation of water and sanitation infrastructure in approximately 68 communities. These works will include wells, water treatment systems, distribution pipelines, storage tanks, in-home connections and septic tanks.

Adina Bastidas, Executive Director for Venezuela at the IDB, thanked the Bank specialists who worked on the project, Rudi Cressa y Efrain Rueda, for their support. 

“Drinking water and sanitation is a strategic sector in the fight against poverty and the pursuit of development," Bastidas said. "This IDB-financed programalso has the distinction giving a central role to the technical water committees (mesas técnicas de agua) that ensure active community participation."

“Strengthening the capacity of the community organizations that run these services is crucial to ensuring sustainability,” said Federico Basañes, chief of the IDB’s Water and Sanitation Division. “This program not only finances infrastructure works; it also creates the conditions in which local operators can manage and maintain these investments in the future.”

The total cost of the program will be $125 million, including $25 million in counterpart funds provided by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The project will be executed by HIDROVEN C.A. (Hidrológica de Venezuela), a unit within the Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Ambiente. The IDB loan has an amortization period of  25 years, with a 4-year grace period and an interest rate based on LIBOR.

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