North American Development Bank authorizes $80 million for water conservation fund, approves $11.8 million for new project construction

Aug. 22, 2002
The North American Development Bank authorized the creation of an $80 million Water Conservation Fund for financing of water conservation projects on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

San Antonio, Texas, August 22, 2002 -- At its meeting recently, the Board of Directors of the North American Development Bank (NADB) authorized the creation of an $80 million Water Conservation Fund for financing of water conservation projects on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

In other actions, the Board also authorized an additional $50 million for the NADB's Low Interest Rate Lending Facility (LIRF) and approved $11.8 million in loans and grants for projects in Ciudad Acu?a, Coahuila; San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora; and Fabens, Texas.

"Today, the NADB Board made substantial progress in fulfilling the goals of President Bush and President Fox," stated John B. Taylor, Under Secretary of the Department of the Treasury and chairman of the NADB Board.

"The reforms, the provision of grants for water conservation and the doubling of the size of the Low Interest Rate Lending Facility will make a real difference for people, communities and farms on our border."

The Water Conservation Fund, which in part is expected to help finance infrastructure improvement projects for irrigation districts impacting the Rio Grande, will be capitalized with a portion of the NADB's retained earnings. Funds will be equally distributed for projects on both sides of the border. The NADB Board of Directors proposed detailed guidelines for operation of the grant fund.

In anticipation of increased lending demand, the NADB Board of Directors also made an additional $50 million in capital available for lending under the NADB's Low Interest Rate Lending Facility (LIRF). Under this program, border communities have access to NADB loans at lower-than-market interest rates. In addition to the funding increase, the Board also authorized the use of low interest rate loans for funding of water conservation projects.

"With these actions the governments of Mexico and the United States, through the NADB, are seeking to promote a more efficient use of resources in the border region, while at the same time contributing to the fulfillment of the water treaty between the two countries," commented Dr. Agustin Carstens, Mexico's Under Secretary of Finance and Public Credit and co-chair of the NADB Board. "The Mexican government expects that the BECC will make a similar effort to achieve the results we are seeking."

At the meeting, the Board also approved three loans under the LIRF totaling $11.3 million, and a $500,000 grant from its Solid Waste Environmental Program (SWEP). The communities receiving loans are Ciudad Acu?a, Coahuila, for a municipal wastewater project; San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, for a sanitary landfill project; and the El Paso County Water Control and Improvements District No. 4 in Fabens, Texas, for water and wastewater system improvements. The SWEP grant will go to the San Luis project.

In addition, the NADB Board implemented improvements to the NADB's technical assistance programs, including turning the Solid Waste Project Development Program (SWPD) into the Project Development Program, thus making it available to all sectors in which the Bank operates. The NADB anticipates increasing its participation in these sectors as it pursues project opportunities under its expanded mandate.

The North American Development Bank, created under the auspices of NAFTA, is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border.

As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank is working to develop integrated, sustainable and fiscally responsible projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.

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