$7.5m water project set up for Timor-Leste


Source: Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help the Government of Timor-Leste improve water supplies in the capital, Dili.

The Dili Urban Water Supply Sector Project will provide good quality water, continuously for 24 hours a day, to approximately 30% of all Dili households, businesses and institutions. Most target beneficiaries come from poor or low income households. Experience shows that easy access to clean water benefits the urban poor most, especially women.

The total project cost is estimated at $7.5 million. The entire ADB contribution will be an Asian Development Fund grant of $6 million, with the Timor-Leste Government providing the remaining $1.5 million. The project will be implemented over 29 months, commencing mid-2008.

“More reliable, safe water supplies will also reduce health costs and improve the productivity of beneficiary families,” said Charles Andrews, Resident Representative of ADB’s Special Office in Timor-Leste. “Improved water supplies to businesses will make them more competitive and increase job offerings for local people.”

Improving water supplies in Dili city is now an urgent priority. Dili’s population is growing rapidly, but water supply services have only been partly rehabilitated since widespread destruction in 1999. Dili city has good water treatment plants, water storage facilities, and main distribution pipes. But inside the city’s neighborhoods, the water is mostly lost through leaky pipes or is pilfered. Few customers pay for their water.

The project will work intensively in six target neighborhoods containing 1,000 water connections each. New local pipes will be laid, water leaks will be repaired, and water connections with meters will be installed. Neighborhood water supply caretakers will be employed by the Government’s National Directorate for Water Supply and Sanitation, and a permanent water loss reduction task force will sustain and expand the program. Hundreds of customers consulted during project preparation confirmed their willingness to pay if the service is good.

The project will also improve the hydraulic management of the entire Dili water supply system. System wide improvements include: the checking and refurbishment of up to 35 distribution master meters, assessment and possible replacement of 51 kilometers of water pipes, and the checking and replacement (as necessary) of 2,950 household meters and 240 commercial meters.

Project consultants will work in the field with their Timorese colleagues, sharing skills on leak detection and system management. A complementary ADB technical assistance, Dili Water Supply Improvement ($1.0 million) will also strengthen the National Directorate.

ADB’s country program and strategy update for 2006 to 2008 identifies infrastructure development and management as the primary focus of ADB support to Timor-Leste.

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