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    The Largest Basin Clean-up Loan in Latin America

    By Keith R | June 11, 2009

    Topics: Sanitation, Water Issues | No Comments »

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    From the World Bank:

    World Bank: Approves Largest Sanitation Operation in Latin America for US$840 Million to Clean the Matanza-Riachuelo River Basin in Argentina

    The Board of Directors of the World Bank today approved a loan for US$840 million in support of the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin Sustainable Development project. The loan will support the government’s Integrated Basin Cleanup strategy to progressively eliminate discharges to the M-R River, thereby improving water quality and environmental conditions.

    “The Matanza-Riachuelo River Basin is the most contaminated urban river basin in Argentina and home to some 3.5 million people. The project will support an integrated approach to basin clean-up in the longer term. The World Bank is proud to be part of this long term process that supports state policies in Argentina to clean up the basin” said Franz Drees-Gross, co- Task Manager for the operation in the Bank.

    “The financial assistance provided by the World Bank represents a turning point given its importance and the impact it will have on the basin. It will help decrease the environmental burden, social issues and industrial waste,” said Homero Bibiloni, Argentina’s Environment and Sustainable Development Secretary. The Matanza-Riachuelo River is polluted by industrial pollution discharges, sewage from households not yet connected to sewerage systems, overflows from contaminated storm drainage systems and other sources. In order to address these, the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin Sustainable Development Project will:

    The proposed project has four components:

    (i) Sanitation: Investments in sanitation infrastructure including the Left Bank collector, the Baja Costanera bypass collector, the Riachuelo preliminary treatment plant, inflow and effluent pumping stations at the Riachuelo preliminary treatment plant, the Riachuelo outfall, the Industrial collector, and the Right Bank collector.

    (ii) Industrial Pollution Abatement: Technical assistance to improve environmental monitoring and enforcement of environmental targets for selected industrial activities, as well as financing of cleaner production investments to enhance and support environmental compliance among polluting small and medium size enterprises;

    (iii) Environmental Territorial Management: Technical assistance for environmental land use planning and financing for pilot urban and drainage works; and

    (iv) Institutional Strengthening and Project Management: Financing for technical studies to support project implementation; a communication strategy to inform key stakeholders; project management activities; and support for the institutional strengthening of ACUMAR.

    The government’s medium to long term objective for the sustainable management of the basin is the progressive elimination of point source discharges to the M-R River, which would result in water quality improvements in a 15 – 20 year time frame.

    The World Bank will support the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin Sustainable Development Program by means of a two-stage Adaptable Program Loan (APL). The first stage of this program, approved today, provides a fixed-spread loan of US$840 million, payable in 30 years, including 5 years of grace.

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