The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed an agreement in partnership with 18 banks to support a water supply and distribution project of the China Water Affairs Group (CWA), which aims to improve access to water in underserved areas of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The US$200 million B-loan signed expands ADB’s financing to the project, which includes an ADB direct loan of US$100 million signed in May 2014, to reach a total commitment of US$300 million. Under the B-loan structure, ADB acts as lender of record for loan funds provided by commercial banks.
The PRC has made great strides in improving access to quality water but there are sharp imbalances in access to reliable piped water with over half of all rural residents lacking basic household tap connections. With support from ADB, CWA is helping upgrade water management systems and assisting the government in its goal to close the rural water gap.
Under the project, CWA, a pioneer private sector operator in water distribution, will expand existing distribution networks into semi-urban and rural areas to provide household connections to tap water 24 hours, 7 days per week, and to build, acquire and rehabilitate water treatment and distribution hubs in second- and third-tier cities, which have the potential for urban-rural integration.
The 18 partner banks include: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited; State Bank of India; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macau) Limited; The Korea Development Bank; CTBC Bank Co., Ltd.; The Tokyo Star Bank, Limited; BDO Unibank, Inc.; Kookmin Bank; Bank of East Asia; China CITIC Bank International Limited; KEB Hana Bank; Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A.; Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, Ltd.; Mega International Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.; NEC Capital Solutions Limited; First Commercial Bank; and Woori Bank. ADB is the lender of record.
Hisaka Kimura, East Asia Unit Head of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department, stated:
“The project builds on the success of ADB’s earlier partnership and cultivates a new frontier through urban-rural distribution network integration. For rural areas to be linked into an enlarged urban network, water quality, service hours and tariffs are improved to match those of urban consumers. Our partnership with 18 banks will allow the operation to reach beyond its existing service areas to provide good quality, affordable water supplies to semi-urban and rural communities in need.”
“Around 740,000 households will benefit from the project. By improving water efficiency throughout distribution, the project will also help conserve water, one of the most precious resources in the PRC.”