The World Bank’s Executive Board approved $442 million in funding to support Pakistan to improve its access to water and sanitation services in Punjab.
The World Bank is committed to the government to improve the sustainable management of water resources. It will support investments that increase climate resilience, including flood protection, rainwater harvesting, and water conservation in these districts.
The Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PRSWSSP) will help improve water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services that provide access to clean water and safe wastewater management in rural settlements, the World Bank said.
“The PRSWSSP will help more than 6 million rural residents in Punjab’s poorest districts to reduce child stunting and address areas at high risk of drought and water scarcity,” said Najy Benassine, World Bank Director for Pakistan.
“The project is expected to bring substantial benefits to rural communities. This will help improve health outcomes by reducing waterborne diseases and ensuring the quality of service and customer service through a financially sustainable public company,” said Farhan Sami, Task Team Leader for the project.
Ghazala Mansuri, co-leader of the project’s working team said, “The unavailability of clean and healthy water affects a child’s cognitive development and immune system, reducing the level of education, making illness more likely and leading to lower productivity and income. Its effects are intergenerational, transmitted from parents to children. This project would provide the model for a transformational shift in human capital accumulation as it addresses all determinants of growth retardation. ”
The project will cover 16 districts, with 50% of the districts drawn from southern Punjab and 25% each from central and northern Punjab, benefiting 2,000 villages and more than six million people in rural areas.
It will also provide training for village councils and community caretakers, who will have additional responsibilities for operations and maintenance, monitoring and evaluation, and customer service.