BELGRADE (Serbia), December 16 (SeeNews) - Serbia’s northern city of Subotica has completed the overhaul of its water and wastewater network under a project supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Union (EU) and the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), the EBRD said.
The network improves the quality of water supply, wastewater disposal and treatment services in Subotica, allowing the city with a population of 140,000 to connect around 12,000 more citizens to the sewerage network, bringing coverage up to 60% of the population, the EBRD said in a statement on Tuesday.
The EBRD provided close to 20 million euro ($24.4 million) in loans, while the EU and bilateral donors provided 7 million euro worth of investment grants and technical assistance for the project, the bank said.
"We hope to see more cities in Serbia follow the example of Subotica and invest in their wastewater and water infrastructure. The EBRD, the European Union as well as bilateral donor countries are focused on supporting the transition to a green economy and there has never been stronger momentum to invest in green infrastructure. It is an opportunity not to be missed in order to upgrade networks of cities and municipalities to the benefit of citizens and the environment," Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Regional Director, Western Balkans and Head of Serbia, said in the statement.
The EBRD, the EU and bilateral donors have supported Subotica since 2010 when the city started modernising its wastewater treatment plant and constructing a sludge line. The city then continued to upgrade its network by extending its sewerage network and constructing collectors and additional water pipelines, among other things.
"Subotica is, of course, only one area in Serbia where we have invested in water purification. In the Raska area, for instance, we have also invested more than 6 million euro in a wastewater treatment plant. European integration for Serbia is not an abstract thing; it is something people can see and feel in their own homes through cleaner and safer water for them and their children. Protecting the environment means protecting the people. That is what the EU is about: a better life for the people," Martin Klaucke, Operations Section at the EU Delegation to Serbia, said.
The EBRD has invested more than 6.3 billion euro across 277 projects in Serbia to date. The bank is focusing on support for private-sector development, the improvement of public utility services and on the overall transition towards a green economy.
($ = 0.819708 euro)