The World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have approved $100 million each to increase access to improved water supply and sanitation system in 30 municipalities in Bangladesh as well as to help build their capacities for delivering water and sanitation services.

The co-financed Municipal Water Supply and Sanitation Project will help about 600,000 people living in small towns get safe water through piped water supply systems, the two development lenders said in a separate statement today.

In the selected 30 municipalities that currently do not have piped water systems, the project will install water infrastructures, including water treatment facility, water storage, transmission and distribution pipe network, house connections including meters, and others.

In Bangladesh, about 87 percent households have access to various improved water sources, but only 10 percent people have access to piped water supply. About half of the municipalities have basic piped water systems, but they cover only a small share of population in town centers.

“With Bangladesh’s rapid urbanisation, both small towns and big cities need to improve their infrastructures, including water and sanitation systems, to cater to the growing population,” said Mercy Tembon, country director of the WB for Bangladesh and Bhutan, in the statement released by the WB.

“Water and sanitation systems are an integral part of a modern city. This project will contribute to the government’s goal of expanding piped water coverage in municipal areas.”

In another statement, AIIB Director General Supee Teravaninthorn said: “AIIB continues to ensure its projects are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable in a balanced and integrated manner. This project is expected to directly contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.”

AIIB Vice President DJ Pandian said the AIIB’s engagement is expected to enhance the quality of environmental management and the financial sustainability of the participating municipalities, which is well aligned with its key thematic priority of building sustainable infrastructure.

“The experience of implementing this project will strengthen AIIB’s capacity to finance broad-based water supply and sanitation projects, which are in high demand in other areas of the region.”

The World Bank statement said the project will also help the participating municipalities improve sanitation and drainage systems. This will include investments in septage management, public toilets, septage disposal, and critical drainage infrastructure. The project will also provide equipment and training to cleaning workers for fecal sludge management.

“To ensure governance structure and mandates of local municipalities, decentralisation of institutional responsibilities is important,” said Arif Ahamed, World Bank Senior Water Specialist and Project Task Team Leader.

“The project will support the municipalities to build capacity to install and manage water and sanitation systems as well as have stronger institutional and financial systems for operation and maintenance works. The municipalities will have the ability to form effective private public partnership for water and sanitation services.”

The government of Bangladesh is providing $9.53 million for the project.