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BUCHAREST (Romania), March 6 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) said on Wednesday it is lending Romania 12 million euro ($13.6 million) to finance upgrades in drinking water supply and sanitation services for some 332,000 people in Alba county.
This transaction is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan, EIB said in a press release.
The rehabilitation of the principal water pipes and sewers will reduce leaks and infiltrations and increase the energy efficiency of the systems, thus contributing to climate change mitigation, EIB said.
"I am pleased to announce our support for this project which will greatly improve the quality of water services in Alba County and is the first public sector operation in Romania to be backed by the Juncker Plan. Not only will the works have a sizable impact on the public health of people, they will also render the local water infrastructure more cost efficient and environmentally friendly," EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell said.
This project, which is expected to cost 114 million euro in total, includes the rehabilitation of a water intake, the expansion of the water network by 55 km, as well as the extension and rehabilitation of 115 km of water mains and two water treatment plants. In addition, the sewerage network in the region will be extended by 100 km. Finally, the investment will help renovate 49 pumping stations and build two new wastewater treatment plants.
The rest of the sum needed for the investment is covered by Cohesion Policy funds.
"Quality drinking water should never be a luxury and should be available everywhere in Europe. This agreement under the Juncker Plan shows the real added value of the EU, investing to protect the environment and improve the health and everyday lives of our citizens," European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said.
The project will also help Alba County to comply with the EU water and wastewater directives, general director of Alba County Water Company Cornel Stefan Bardan said.
($ = 0.8849 euro)