WASHINGTON, DC, June 15, 2010 -- The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved today the Regional Potable Water Supply Systems project and the "Oum Er Rbia" Sanitation project. The objective of the first project is to increase access to potable water supply for selected local communities in the Nador, Driouch, Safi, Youssoufia, Sidi Bennour and Errachidia provinces. The second project plans to support help increase the overall rate of sanitation access, and wastewater treatment in eleven towns in the Oum Er Rbia basin.
The Regional Potable Water Supply Systems project (US$175 million) will contribute to achieving Morocco's objective of increasing access to potable water in lagging urban and rural areas and in so doing improve the living conditions of the local communities. It will also promote social and economic development in rural areas. The project will, in particular, contribute to increase participation in educational and economic activities, reduce prevalence of water-borne diseases (especially in children under five years of age) and create opportunities for job creation. "The important added value of this project is that it will help ONEP [Marocco's Office of Drinking Water] take up the challenge of shifting from the standpipe kind of approach towards rural networks with Individual House Connections which better fit with the demand in rural areas." said Pier Francesco Mantovani, Task Team Leader of this project.
The "Oum Er Rbia" Sanitation project (US$43 million) will contribute to achieving the Government of Morocco's objective of increasing the overall rate of sanitation access and the reduction of pollution in the natural environment. It aims also at narrowing the service gap between large and small towns. "As in most wastewater improvement projects, this project will as well contribute to the promotion of the social and economic development of the small towns in the Oum Er Rbia river basin." added Alexander Bakalian, Task Team Leader of the "Oum Er Rbia" Sanitation project.
The World Bank and the Government of Morocco elected water as a sectoral entry point for their 2005-2009 partnership, and developed a specific "water pillar" aimed at "improving water management and access to water and sanitation services." Water remains an important focus of the current 2010-2013 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), with renewed commitments to develop equitable, sustainable and affordable Water Supply and Sanitation services.