By Olga Rosca
More than 210,000 citizens living in Romania’s Buzau county will benefit from an improved access to water and wastewater services thanks to an EBRD loan worth €20 million(US$21.61million) provided to the regional water and wastewater utility SC Compania de Apa SA Buzau.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic sheds new light on the importance of access to water. Poor water infrastructure puts communities at greater risk and exacerbates the economic costs of the outbreak, both in terms of national economies and household revenues – when people cannot work because of sickness or lockdowns.
The EBRD, which remains open for business in Romania and other countries where it invests, has been financing the Romanian water sector since 1995 and has provided a total of half a billion euros in loans to 24 water operators. It has also mobilised well over €2 billion of EU funding for the country’s water and wastewater facilities.
The new financing to the Buzau water operator is part of a €293 million regional investment programme, with the European Union (EU) extending funds under its Large Infrastructure Operational Programme.
The loan will help increase access to water and wastewater services with a particular focus on small communities of fewer than 10,000 people. The infrastructure upgrades will reduce water losses by 0.5 million m3 per year and will increase the volume of treated wastewater by 0.8 million m3 per year.
The financing for ApaBuzau is extended under the EBRD Sustainable Water Infrastructure Facility (SWIFT), which builds on the Bank’s long-term work with Romanian water companies aimed at bringing the sector in line with EU laws, policies and practices. This is the fifth EBRD loan under the SWIFT framework.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Romania and to date has invested over €8.3 billion in the country, primarily in the private sector.