BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 23. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is funding further improvements to water supply and treatment services in Kazakhstan’s third-largest city, Shymkent, Trend reports quoting the EBRD.

The Bank provides fresh funds to the country’s private municipal water company, Vodnye Resoursy Marketing (VRM), responsible for serving nearly 1.1 million people.

The EBRD loan of up to KZT 3.3 billion (over €7 million) over 13 years will help VRM finance its priority investment programme, including the extension of its wastewater treatment plant (50,000 m3 per day) and the rehabilitation of sewerage networks. The project will benefit from a similarly sized grant from the Government of Kazakhstan.

Once completed, the wastewater treatment plant will see its capacity increase by 33% and VRM will be able to add 240,000 residents to the network. The project has the dual objective of meeting the growing demand for water treatment services and improving the quality of discharged wastewater.

Earlier this year, Shymkent joined the EBRD’s Green Cities programme. This investment is a trigger project for the Shymkent Green City Action Plan (GCAP), a crucial tool that helps the municipality define its sustainability vision and strategic goals, as well as the actions and investments needed to address priority environmental issues.

EBRD Vice President Alain Pilloux said: “Our work with VRM perfectly illustrates why the EBRD is a strong advocate of private sector involvement in municipal public services. For many years, we have enjoyed excellent cooperation with this company, which has resulted in high-quality water supply services for more than one million residents of Shymkent. Clearly, this is a benchmark for the rest of Kazakhstan.

The EBRD has been working with Shymkent Vodokanal, managed by VRM, since 2009. It has provided almost €60 million through five projects to improve Shymkent’s water supply and treatment network. This cooperation has enabled the installation of an automated network monitoring system, the replacement of 171.5 km of water distribution pipes, the improvement of the power supply of 12 pumping stations, the construction of 11 electrical substations and the installation of a biogas plant to European standards.

This year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s membership of the EBRD. With more than €10 billion invested in the country to date through nearly 300 projects, it is the Bank’s largest and longest running uninterrupted banking operation in Central Asia.