FIELD NOTES--ASIA PACIFIC

Ministers of the six countries sharing the Mekong River will discuss ways to step up cooperation under an Asian Development Bank-assisted program...

Regional: Ministers of the six countries sharing the Mekong River will discuss ways to step up cooperation under an Asian Development Bank-assisted program at a conference to be held in Dali, Yunnan Province, the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The 12th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Ministerial Conference will include ministers from Cambodia, PRC, Lao's People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam with responsibility for the Regional Economic Cooperation Program of the GMS.

China: The Malaysian company PBA Holdings Bhd's (PBA) month-old joint-venture company, Pinang Water Ltd (PWL), won its first waterworks project in China that will yield a gross revenue of US$ 64 million over a 29-year period.

The Malaysian joint venture, including PBA, YLI Holdings Bhd and KWI Far East Sdn Bhd, will make an initial investment of about US$ 4.5 million in a 100,000 m3/day water treatment plant in Yichun City, in China's Jiangxi Province.

PWL Director Datuk Liew Chook San and the People's Government of Yichun Deputy Secretary-General Liu Desheng signed a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement on 13 July. Liew said a water sale agreement was also signed under which PWL would supply treated water to Yichun Water Supply Co (YWSC) for 29 years.

Phase I is scheduled for completion in July 2004. He said PWL's revenue would come from the supply of treated water for a period of 29 years from the completion date of phase I of the project, which would initially supply 50,000 m3/day.

The BOT plant will use patented KWI surface water treatment technology, which offers significant cost-savings, accelerated project completion and significantly higher water quality, he added. PBAPP operates two similar water treatment plants in Penang supplying between 15,000 and 20,000 m3/day of treated water.

Timor-Leste: On 8 August 2003, officials from the Asian Development Bank, government officials and local residents, inaugurated a water supply and sanitation rehabilitation project in the Atauro district of Timor-Leste. The project restored the damaged and inadequate water supply and sanitation infrastructure throughout the country and re-established the human and institutional capacity needed to manage, operate and maintain the infrastructure.

The project will benefit more than 245,000 persons by improving water supply and sanitation systems that involve construction of deep wells, diesel-powered pumps, water reservoirs, pipelines, public tanks and tapstands. In some districts, polyethylene pipes with welded joints, a construction method new to the country, were used extensively.

The government lacked the capacity or resources to develop water supply and sanitation systems or to operate and maintain such systems in certain rural areas covered under the project. In such areas, the model adopted to develop rural water supply was based on partnerships between communities and non-government organisations (NGOs) to develop, operate and maintain facilities.

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