ISLAMABAD: The Japanese government will provide the grant assistance worth $39 million (Rs6.2 billion) for the improvement of water treatment plant and water distribution system in Faisalabad city under the master plan that will focus on water supply, sewerage and drainage for next 20 years.

Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Matsuda Kuninori and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed here on Friday.

Separately, the grant agreement on the details of project implementation was also signed and exchanged between Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Furuta Shigeki and Joint Secretary of Economic Affairs Division Syeda Adeela Bokhari.

Project implementation details finalised

Jica has already assisted the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) of Faisalabad to formulate the master plan in 2019. In the master plan, pilot projects were conducted to improve water supply services by establishing management system of water distribution, including activities such as developing district metered area and reducing non-revenue water, besides other actions.

The grant project has been formulated based on the prioritised project listed in the master plan, aiming not only to increase the water supply capacity for the currently unserved 50,000 inhabitants, but also expand the output of the pilot projects in the grant project target area of Abdullahpur and Madina Town phase-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 through a new technical cooperation project for improving their management capacity.

Through this continuous assistance, Wasa is expected to be a role model in Pakistan that can keep a virtuous cycle of enhancing water supply service level, improving customer satisfaction, tariff revenue and financial condition of Wasa for future investment, leading further to better services.

The “Faisalabad model” would become a replicable model for other cities in the future.

At the signing ceremony, Ambassador Matsuda stated that the supply of safe and ample water for the Pakistani people was one of the most important issues for the Imran Khan administration, and this sector was 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’,” the ambassador said.

Jica Chief Representative Furuta Shigeki, while speaking at the ceremony, expressed the hope that the grant aid project would be successful not only as a project but also 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 emphasised the importance of water supply services, while EAD Secretary Noor Ahmed expressed his deepened appreciation for Japanese high quality and continual support for the water and sanitation sector in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2021

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