Islamabad:By ABID SIDDIQUE CHAUDHRY
The Government of Japan has agreed to provide grants worth 4.1 billion Japanese Yen (Equivalent to around USD 39 million / around PKR 6.2 billion) for improvement of water treatment plant and water distribution system in Faisalabad city, Punjab province.
Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between H.E. Mr. MATSUDA Kuninori, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Mr. Noor Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad and a Grant Agreement (G/A) on the details of implementation of the project was signed and exchanged between Mr. FURUTA Shigeki, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Pakistan Office and Ms. Syeda Adeela Bokhari, Joint Secretary (Japan/NGO/INGO), Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Before this grant project, JICA assisted Water and Sanitation Agency, Faisalabad (WASA-F) to formulate the Master Plan in 2019 targeting next 20 years of future water supplies, sewerage and drainage in Faisalabad. In this Master Plan project, pilot projects were conducted to improve water supply services by establishing management system of water distribution including activities such as developing DMA (District Metered Area), reducing NRW (Non-Revenue Water) and so on.
This grant project has been formulated based on the prioritized project listed in the Master Plan, aiming not only to increase the water supply capacity for the currently unserved 50,000 inhabitants, but also to expand the output of the pilot projects in the grant project’s target area (Abudulah Pur and Madina Town No.2). In particular, the Old Jhal Khanuana Water Treatment Plant will be renewed and the water transmission and distribution facilities will also be rehabilitated in Faisalabad city under grant aid cooperation. Furthermore, JICA is also planning to assist WASA-F through a new technical cooperation project for improving their management capacity.
Through this continuous assistance, WASA-F is expected to be a role model in Pakistan that can keep a virtuous cycle of 1) enhancing water supply service level, 2) improving customer satisfaction, 3) improving tariff revenue, and 4) improving financial condition of WASA-F for future investment leading further to better services. This “Faisalabad model” would become a replicable model for other cities in the future.
At the signing ceremony, Ambassador MATSUDA stated, “Supply of safe and ample water for the Pakistani people is one of the most important issues for the Imran Khan Administration, and this sector is also one of the strongest areas for Japan. We would like to continue to cooperate with Pakistan in the water and sanitation sector so that when people talk about water and sanitation development assistance, they think of Japan. For Pakistani people, Japan is known as “the Country of Rising Sun”; but, from now on she aspires to become a “Source of Clean Water” ”.
Mr. FURUTA Shigeki while speaking at the ceremony said “I hope that the grant aid project will be successful not only as a project, but as an important milestone for giving an impact for reforming water supply management in Punjab and in Pakistan in the future”.
Ambassador MATSUDA and Mr. FURUTA emphasized the importance of water supply services and Mr. Noor Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs expressed his deepened appreciation for Japanese high quality and continual support for the water and sanitation sector in Pakistan.
Through this grant aid, the Government of Japan and JICA will continue to assist water supply services conducted by the Government of Punjab and the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.