ADB and the Government of Nepal are working together to provide water supply and sanitation services to selected small towns in the country. The Third Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project is providing the services to small towns with a population of 5,000 to 40,000 that show the potential for growth by having access to roads, power supply and telecommunications. This includes the upgrade or construction of water supply systems in up to 26 small towns, involving 1,450 kilometers of water supply pipelines; 78,000 household connections; and 26 water treatment systems with an estimated capacity of 50,000 cubic meters per day. The project is also providing about 20,300 household toilets with septic tanks, as well as provision of septic management facilities and equipment. Drainage systems and master plans are also being provided in towns with flooding risks. Training is being provided to help local water agencies modernize their operations and manage water rates, and to teach local communities public awareness on water conservation and public hygiene.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The urban population of Nepal is growing quickly. While this is an important engine for economic growth, it is also creating environmental hazards and rising urban poverty. Improved infrastructure and government services in cities are needed to address these issues. Most people in the country do not have access to piped water and those who do have it often suffer from intermittent service and poor maintenance. In areas without piped or other water systems, people use natural springs, spouts, or shallow groundwater wells and hand pumps. Many households in the country also lack modern sanitation facilities. This leads to open defecation that contaminates water sources and creates serious public health risks. Each year, more than 13,000 children under 5 years of age die of diarrhea-related diseases.
DETAILED PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The Third Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project (the project) will support the Government of Nepal in providing water supply and sanitation (WSS) services to selected small towns in Nepal. In line with the government’s 15-Year Development Plan for Water Supply and Sanitation in Small Towns (15-year plan) of 2009, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has supported the government in providing WSS services in 50 of the 265 small towns in Nepal through two earlier projects. Drawing on experience and lessons from the earlier interventions, this project will fund physical investments in WSS infrastructure in selected small towns (project towns) and nonphysical investments in the strengthening of sector policy, regulatory and institutional capacity, service delivery, and project management.
Project Impact and Outcome
The impact of the project will be improved living conditions in project towns. The outcome will be inclusive, gender-focused, and sustainable WSS service delivery in project towns.
Output 1: Improved Water Supply and Sanitation infrastructure. Output 1 will finance (a) upgrade or construction of water supply systems in project towns—e.g., about 1,450 kilometers of water supply pipelines, 78,000 additional household connections, and 26 water treatment systems with an estimated capacity of 50,000 cubic meters per day; (b) construction of some 20,300 additional private toilets with septic tanks for the poor and vulnerable, through output-based aid; (c) provision of septage management facilities and equipment in 14 towns, and construction of two decentralized wastewater treatment facilities with a capacity of 2,500 cubic meters per day; (d) preparation of drainage master plans and provision of priority drains in towns with flooding risks; (e) rehabilitation of about five packages of existing WSS systems; and (f) maintenance of nonrevenue water at around 10% in project towns’ water supply systems.
Output 2: Strengthened sector policy, regulatory and institutional capacity and service delivery. Output 2 will finance (a) preparation, adoption, and implementation of tariff guidelines for small towns; (b) establishment of a new institutional support and service advisory unit (ISSAU) in the Department Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS); construction of a building for DWSS, and completion and implementation of business plans for the DWSS, its national water supply and sanitation training centre, Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit (SEIU), and participating Water Users’ Associations (WUAs); (c) restructuring of the Town Development Fund (TDF) for capacity building; (d) completion of solid waste management (SWM) plans for project towns; (e) provision of technical, financial and utility management training to participating WUAs or local bodies, including computerization of their billing and collection system; (f) provision of leadership training to female executive members of project WUAs or local bodies; and (g) public awareness on SWM; water conservation; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and livelihood enhancement in project towns.
Output 3: Improved project implementation. Output 3 will fund project community willingness for cost sharing, and long-term O&M contract. Selection of future WSS investments to be designed under the project will follow same criteria, with preference to investments located in Kathmandu Valley, provincial headquarters, and strategic border municipalities.