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Pakistan

World Bank approves $442m for Pakistan’s water and sanitation services

  • Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project will help upgrade infrastructure in rural settlements
19 Jun 2021

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $442 million in financing to support Pakistan improve its access to water and sanitation services in Punjab .

The Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PRSWSSP) will help upgrade water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services providing access to drinking water and safe wastewater management in rural settlements, said the World Bank.

“The PRSWSSP will help more than 6 million rural residents in the poorest districts of Punjab to reduce child stunting and address areas at high risk to droughts and water scarcity,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “The World Bank is committed to the government in improving sustainable water resource management. This project will support investments that increase climate resilience, including flood protection, rainwater harvesting and water conservation in these districts.”

The project will cover 16 districts, with 50% of districts drawn from south Punjab, and 25% each from central and north Punjab, benefiting 2,000 villages and more than six million people in rural areas. It will also provide training of village councils and community caretakers, which will have complementary responsibilities for operations and maintenance, monitoring and evaluation, and customer service.

“The project is expected to yield substantial benefits to rural communities. It will help improve health outcomes by reducing water borne illnesses and ensure service quality and customer care through a financially sustainable public company,” said Farhan Sami, Task Team Leader for the project.

The project design was informed by a 2018 flagship report, 'When Water Becomes a Hazard : A Diagnostic Report on The State of Water Supply, Sanitation and Poverty in Pakistan and Its Impact on Child Stunting', that examined linkages in Pakistan between water and sanitation services, and child stunting.

“Child stunting is endemic and a huge constraint on Pakistan’s potential,” said Ghazala Mansuri, co-Task Team Leader for the project. “It impacts a child’s cognitive development and immune system, reducing educational attainment, making illness more likely, and leading to lower productivity and income. Its effects are inter-generational, transmitted from parent to child. This project would provide the template for a transformational shift in human capital accumulation since it addresses all the determinants of stunting.”