RANGOON — In a statement released on Friday, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) pledged US$60 million towards better water management in Mandalay, aiming “to improve urban services and public health.”
The project will see the building of a new water treatment plant, with the stated objective of increasing the number of households with an uninterrupted water supply more than six-fold, from 19,000 to 124,000. At present, the supply network reaches 55 percent of residents in Burma’s second-largest city and former royal capital which is home to around 1.2 million people.
Tethered to this initiative will be a project to build Mandalay’s first centralized wastewater collection and treatment plant and a program to increase local knowledge of broader environmental and health issues.
“Mandalay has enormous potential to become a national economic center, driving growth along the economic corridor linking India to the People’s Republic of China through Mandalay,” said Eri Honda, principal urban development specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia department, in the statement.
Like other big cities in Burma, Mandalay is susceptible to flooding. Zin Min Swe, managing director of CAD Construction in Mandalay, said the city’s drainage system, which dates to the British colonial era, is inadequate.
“What we need is a better waste water management system, one that can solve the problem of the recent flooding in Mandalay,” he said.
In addition to ADB’s loan, $56.8 million will be contributed to the project from the French development agency Agence Française de Développement, the European Union’s Asian Investment Facility, and the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund.
The multimillion-dollar project is slated to be completed in March 2023.