The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have agreed to finance the sanitation programme for small municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants in Tunisia, to the tune of US$ 173m.
In October 2018, the two banks announced their intention to support the Tunisian government on the sanitation project aimed at developing sanitation infrastructure including primary and secondary networks, transfer networks, pumping stations and water treatment plants in 19 of the 24 governorates in the North African country.
The funding will also consist of capacity building and institutional support touching on the lives of more than 200,000 people in the municipalities.
The joint commitment is the subject of an agreement signed on January 8, 2019 in Tunis, the capital, with the Tunisian Ministry of Development, Investment and International Cooperation (MDICI) and the National Sanitation Office (Onas).
National Sanitation Office (Onas) will be responsible for the implementation of the programme in the field, and will build 30 new pumping stations and 24 new wastewater treatment plants in the 33 small municipalities covered by the programme. The pumping stations are a huge infrastructure project requiring large waste water pumps and diesel generators for backup supply. Control systems may also have inverters and the diesel sets will be silent.
The programme provides for the infrastructures to connect to the existing sewerage network and to be extended by 862 km.
According to the AfDB, the improvement will help reduce environmental pollution and health risks associated with the current level of sanitation services and will also increase the volume of treated wastewater by 7.71 million cubic meters per year with greater availability of usable water in the region.
The EBRD’s financing for the project amounts to US$ 77m and is conditional on technical support to provide National Sanitation Office (Onas) with assistance in the design of a comprehensive set of support measures for the implementation of the decisions required under the Environmental and Social Action Plan.
The programme will pay particular attention to the governorates of Bizerte, Béja, Kef, Jendouba and Silian, which have been identified as areas with very low levels of access to drinking water and sanitation, due to the limited quantity of groundwater aquifers.