ADB grants $80m loan to ensure safe, secure water supply for China`s Kunming city


Source: Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending an $80 million loan to ensure a safe, secure and affordable water supply to the capital city of Kunming in Yunnan province in southwestern People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Kunming Qingshuihai Water Supply Project has a total estimated cost of $255.9 million. The Kunming Municipal Government will contribute $76.8 million, while a local bank will provide $99.1 million to complete the funding requirement.

“The project will improve urban environment, public health and quality of life for urban residents of Kunming, as well as ensure its sustainable economic development by providing safe and reliable water supply,” said Maria Theresa Villareal, urban development specialist of ADB’s East Asia Department.

Water resources management, water conveyance systems, and capacity development and project management are the three components of the project.

The project will help ensure better raw water quantity and quality in the main city and the new development zones; protect water resources; improve water demand management; strengthen integrated water resources development and environmental management; enhance the environment, living conditions and public health standards; and ensure effective corporate governance to improve sector efficiency.

Without these measures, Kunming will have to revert to the use of the highly polluted water sources of Dianchi Lake, one of its main water sources. The polluted water in the lake remains a threat to public health, apart from being costly to treat.

The existing water supply in Kunming, without Dianchi Lake, is projected to be fully utilized within the existing city because of population growth and the related urban, commercial and industrial development through 2010 and beyond. The New Airport Development Zone is a new development area with no substantial water supply source. Another new development, the East Development Zone, is currently underway, and providing adequate water supply will soon be a problem due to its growing population.

Kunming is strategically located and is a focal point for the country’s trade and cultural relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Greater Mekong Subregion, which groups countries sharing the Mekong River, including, People’s Republic of China, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Faced with rapid economic expansion, demand for urban and water infrastructure and services in Kunming has risen, taking its toll on the environment and water supply resources.

“The planning and development of new water resources has not kept pace with rapid population and economic growth, particularly in Kunming which has been declared a water shortage area. The lack of a cohesive water resources protection and demand management, coupled with widespread pollution, have caused the quality of current water sources to deteriorate to levels that make them unacceptable for further water use,” said Ms. Villareal.

The project will address the critical water requirements of Kunming beyond 2012 by providing 111 million cubic meters of water annually to meet demand in the city, 104 million cubic meters for the New Airport Development Zone and East Development Zone. In both zones, residents currently depend on water from springs and wells. The project will also provide 7 million cubic meters of water for the nearby county of Xundian.

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