EBRD Releases New Funds To Complete Overhaul Of Shymkent Water Utility


By Anton Usov

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has released fresh funds to complete the refurbishment of water and wastewater facilities in Shymkent, Kazakhstan’s third-largest municipality. The local utility Vodnye Resursy Marketing (VRM) will now finalise its programme to provide high-quality water supply services to nearly one million inhabitants of the city.

The Bank’s latest disbursement in Kazakh tenge equivalent to €2.5 million(US$2.96million) will contribute to VRM’s comprehensive modernisation programme and will bring the EBRD’s total funding for the only privately owned operator of water utilities in Kazakhstan to almost €50 million since 2009.

Over this period, VRM has used the Bank’s funds to modernise Shymkent’ s wastewater infrastructure, including the construction of an EU regulation-compliant biogas plant as well as the upgrading of a wastewater treatment plant and the collection network.

The utility has introduced an automated monitoring system for water and wastewater, replaced more than 171 kilometres of the water distribution network, carried out energy efficiency modernisation at 12 pumping stations and upgraded 11 electricity-powered substations.

This work has brought significant environmental and operational benefits. The utility’s annual CO2 emissions have been reduced by 1,827 tonnes. The new biogas facility allows better management of methane emissions and uses them to generate enough electricity to meet half of VRM’s internal demand. Newly introduced metering practices in standalone private dwellings and in apartment buildings have reduced annual commercial losses by almost 90 per cent.

Thanks to the EBRD’s involvement, VRM has introduced corporate governance principles and international accounting standards. It is also the first utility in the country to sign a performance-based contract with the city, becoming a role model for similar service companies in Kazakhstan.

To date, the EBRD has invested over €8.63 billion through 273 projects in the economy of Kazakhstan.

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