By Axel Reiserer
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €4.5 million(US$5.34million) loan for the completion of a key infrastructure project in Zadar, the fifth-largest city in Croatia and a popular tourist destination on the Adriatic coast.
The Bank’s financing will complement EU Cohesion Funds of €42 million extended to Odvodnja d.o.o. Zadar, a municipal company providing wastewater services to around 80,000 people in the city and its surrounding areas.
The project includes the construction and rehabilitation of a wastewater pipeline and collector network of over 100 kilometres, 17 pump stations and a household connectivity increase from 75 to 95 per cent.
The investment will benefit the local population’s quality of life and ensure the sustainable development of Zadar and its neighbouring municipalities, as the city was attracting more than 1.4 million tourist arrivals annually before the coronavirus pandemic.
EBRD Director for Croatia, Victoria Zinchuk said: “We are pleased to support this investment, which will result in more sustainable and efficient wastewater management through enhanced network connectivity in the Zadar region. It underlines the EBRD’s commitment to support Croatian municipalities in the difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Mayor of Zadar, Branko Dukic said: “We appreciate the cooperation with the EBRD and the financing extended to Odvodnja. This loan, along with the EU grant and assistance from the Croatian government and Croatian Waters (Hrvatske vode) will secure funds for investment in the Zadar project. We have major construction ahead of us. In addition to increasing households’ wastewater system connectivity thus ensuring the protection of the environment and our sea, this project also includes the reconstruction of the water supply system through which we will achieve significant water savings.”
Director of Odvodnja Zadar Grgo Peronja said: “The development of our wastewater treatment and purification facilities is a vital part of our mission to preserve our sea from land based pollution. This project will allow the citizens of this beautiful city and its visitors to continue to enjoy our clean sea in the times to come.”
The EBRD signed its first project in Croatia in 1994 and it has invested over €3.9 billion in 219 projects to date. The Bank’s activities include all areas of the economy with a special focus on the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.