AKIPRESS.COM - Some 9.1 million (28%) in Uzbekistan don’t have access to water supply services or rely on self-supply. This information came from the roundtable held by the World Bank and the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services on water supply and sanitation sector reform priorities to promote sustainable service delivery.
Development partners including Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Commission, and French Agency for International Development participated in the event, along with other representatives from the Government including Ministry of Finance and State Committee for Investments.
“To improve the delivery of utility services to the population, the Government takes measures to modernize water supply and sewage systems across the country using public and foreign investment into the sector. For this end, in 2017–2018, public funds totaling over UZS1.2 trillion were allocated from the state budget. It is expected that over 450,000 citizens will get better access to safe drinking water after the completion of construction works and launch of new water supply facilities in 2018”, said Minister of Housing and Communal Services Muzaffar Saliev.
It was noted during the meeting that whilst water tariffs in Uzbekistan have been increasing, they are still amongst the lowest in the world. At current rates, the utilities cannot fully cover their operating and maintenance costs and invest into service expansion. The participants highlighted the urgent need to change the tariff policy to improve the financial sustainability of the sector.
Nowadays, 17.3 million people (53% of all consumers) have access to water supply services. Meanwhile, estimated 6.4 million people (19%) get services from other providers, and some 9.1 million (28%) don’t have access to water supply services or rely on self-supply. The roundtable also considered Swiss experience of community-based service provision in rural areas and the need to develop a regulatory framework for alternative service providers.
The roundtable helped to foster a shared understanding of the water supply and sanitation sector development and coordinate distribution of technical support from international partners for the reform process in the country.
In Uzbekistan, the World Bank is implementing 18 projects totaling over US$ 3.3 billion with the aim to support the Government’s ambitious social and economic reforms. These projects support macroeconomic reforms, development of agriculture and water resources management, healthcare, education, water supply and sanitation, energy, transport, and urban sectors. They contribute to the country’s economic growth and higher living standards for the people of Uzbekistan.