The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $60 million loan to improve the urban environment and boost public health through better water management in Mandalay so the historic city can further develop as the cultural, educational and economic hub of northern Myanmar, the bank said in a statement on 13 November.
“Mandalay has enormous potential to become a national economic centre, driving growth along the economic corridor linking India to the People's Republic of China through Mandalay. However urban services are still substandard and the city is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said Eri Honda, Principal Urban Development Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “The assistance will focus on providing modern water supply and wastewater management, and making these sustainable.”
The country’s second-largest city is home to 2% of the population and generates about 8% of the national GDP, but infrastructure and urban service delivery remain very weak. The piped water system reaches only 55% of residents, sanitation consists of septic tanks connected to roadside drains and latrines, and solid waste is dumped into the canals. Mandalay is also prone to intense flooding during the wet season.
To address these issues, the project will build a new water treatment plant and rehabilitate and extend the existing supply network, with the goal of raising the number of households connected to an uninterrupted water supply from 19,000 to 124,000. It will also build Mandalay’s first centralized wastewater collection and treatment plant to reduce the direct discharge of wastewater into canals and creeks, and carry out awareness programs for residents on the environment and health.
A special feature of the project will be the generation of biogas from sludge, which will be used to produce electricity to provide up to half the wastewater treatment plant’s power needs.
ADB’s loan will be complemented by $56.8 million in co-financing, with $46 million from the French development agency AgenceFrançaise de Développement, $6.8 million from the European Union’s Asian Investment Facility, and $4 million from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund. The Government of Myanmar will provide counterpart support of $13.1 million. The project will run for 7 years, with a target completion date of March 2023.