EU Grant Signed For Water and Sanitation Systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €2.1 million EU grant agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina for financing the construction of the wastewater and drinking water systems in the municipalities of Jajce and Zvornik. This investment will help to improve existing and develop new water and sanitation infrastructure that will increase the capacity of water wells, reduce water losses and decrease water pollution. The aim is to protect public health and the environment from water pollution and ensure reliable water supply and sanitation services for some 93,000 people.
The EU grant will go towards construction works for water supply investments on the right bank of the river Vrbas and will be used to reduce water losses in the existing Resnik water supply system in Jajce. In the city of Zvornik, the investment grant will be allocated to the construction of a wastewater treatment plant for Tabanci and a water supply system in Lokanj-Pilica. The investments are part of the EU-funded projects approved under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) in 2019 to support the implementation of the “Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Programmes in the Federation and in Republika Srpska” of BiH.
The total investment value for both WATSAN projects is more than €215 million, with the EU and bilateral donors providing €14.4 million in grants through the WBIF, complementing the €110 million in the EIB loans. The WATSAN projects are identified in the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans as Flagships within the Investment window „Environment and Climate". These projects concern sustainable and reliable ways of managing water supply, waste water and waste disposal, crucial for the protection of the environment and of the health of citizens.
The WATSAN programmes were launched in 2008 with the purpose to assist 50 small and medium sized municipalities in the Federation of BiH (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS), in developing sustainable water and sanitation services, in accordance with EU accession conditions. Apart from the construction of needed facilities and reconstruction of existing water supply and sanitation systems, including wastewater treatment plants, the WATSAN Programme uses investments in water and wastewater infrastructure to improve the living conditions of the population, ensure access to continuous water supply and sanitation services, and implement environmental protection measures in compliance with the obligations of EU accession and legislation harmonisation.
Mr Johann Sattler, EU Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “With these EU grants we will contribute to improving the quality and efficiency of water supply and wastewater treatment in the municipalities of Jajce and Zvornik. We remain committed to reducing water pollution and improving drinking water, and in December 2020 the European Union allocated an additional €6 million of Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds to support the implementation of water and sanitation programmes throughout BiH.”
Ms Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice-President responsible for Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “One of the EIB’s priorities is to improve access to drinking water and sanitation services for people in the Western Balkans and help the region move towards more sustainable environmental solutions. This investment will increase preparedness for emergencies and natural disasters by providing safer sanitation conditions and reducing water pollution in Jajce, Zvornik and surrounding municipalities. The grant agreements we are signing today will complement the financing of two already signed EIB loans in the water and sanitation sector, which already benefit several municipalities”.
Mr Vjekoslav Bevanda, Minister of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “The European Investment Bank generally implements projects which are the result of the needs of ordinary. This time, they have secured additional funds for improving the water supply in Jajce and Zvornik where the population faces real problems with potable water and environmental protection. These funds will help to significantly improve the quality of their lives, and this is the most important result of these projects”.
Mr Edin Hozan, Mayor of Municipality Jajce said: "This is our largest project in the field of water supply and wastewater treatment, providing clean water to a number of settlements and protecting the river Vrbas. Current priority is the construction of the water supply for the settlements on the right bank of the river. We expect that this investment, financed by the EU grant together with the EIB loan will provide better conditions for this and the future generations, living in the rural areas."
Mr Neđo Jović, Citizen of Lokanj Village said: "The water supply was a very big issue in our village, and in the past we had to transport the water ourselves to our households and farms two or three times a week. We mostly make our living from the cattle breeding, and this project is of great significance for us. To get access to the clean water 24/7, for me is like winning the lottery!"
More about the WBIF Activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina