World Bank OKs Loan for Sanitation in Argentina

The Board of Directors of the World Bank 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 cleanup 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 project will:

  • Improve sewerage services by expanding transport and treatment capacity;
  • Support a reduction of industrial discharges to the M-R River through the provision of industrial conversion grants to small and medium enterprises;
  • Promote improved decision-making for environmentally sustainable land use and drainage planning, and pilot urban drainage and land use investments, and
  • Strengthen the basin agency’s (ACUMAR) institutional framework for ongoing and sustainable cleanup.

The World Bank action provides a fixed-spread loan of US$840 million, payable in 30 years, including 5 years of grace.

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