The European Investment Bank (EIB) will invest €12 million in drinking water and sanitation projects in the Alba region of Romania.
The funding will be backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), in the first instance of EFSI supporting a Romanian public sector project; and will be loaned to the Alba County Regional Water Company. In conjunction with further support from EU Cohesion Policy funds, it will go towards improving the quality of drinking water and sanitation facilities available to the 332,000 citizens of Alba County. European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “Quality drinking water should never be a luxury and should be available everywhere in Europe. This agreement under the Juncker Plan shows the real added value of the EU, investing to protect the environment and improve the health and everyday lives of our citizens.”
The initiative is projected to cost a total of €114 million and will include:
- Rehabilitation of Alba County’s water pipes and sewer infrastructure, as well as a water intake;
- Expanding the water network by an additional 55 kilometres;
- Extensions and upgrades to 115 kilometres of water mains and 100 kilometres of sewer;
- Improvements and updates to two water treatment plants and 49 water pumping stations; and
- Construction of two new wastewater treatment facilities.
Cornel Stefan Bardan, General Director of Alba County Water Company, said: “The €12 million loan granted by the EIB to the regional water operator in Alba County ̶ the first loan to the Romanian public service with EFSI guarantees under the Juncker Plan ̶ will help us to co-finance, at reasonable cost, the major €114 million project through which Alba County will comply with the EU water and wastewater directives.”
By reducing leaks in pipes, the upgrades will render Alba County’s water delivery systems more energy efficient, thereby contributing to the EU’s climate change reduction targets. EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell said: “I am pleased to announce our support for this project which will greatly improve the quality of water services in Alba County and is the first public sector operation in Romania to be backed by the Juncker Plan. Not only will the works have a sizable impact on the public health of people, they will also render the local water infrastructure more cost efficient and environmentally friendly.”