The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide $245m loan for safe and sustainable drinking water in the West Bengal state of India.


Image: The project will provide safe, sustainable, and inclusive drinking water service to about 1.65 million people in three districts of West Bengal state, India. Photo: Courtesy of the Asian Development Bank.

ADB’s loan will help provide drinking water service to nearly 1.65 million across three districts in the state, affected by arsenic, fluoride, and salinity.

Nearly 85% of water in India’s rural areas comes from ground water, with nearly 27 million people are at risk of arsenic and fluoride contamination.

ADB principal urban development specialist Neeta Pokhrel said: “High arsenic and fluoride levels in drinking water are a threat to public health in India, where West Bengal is by far the worst affected state.

“Through efficient use of surface water and a shift to piped water schemes, the ADB project will reduce the burden of disease from arsenic and fluoride while preserving groundwater and enhancing climate resilience.”

The project is expected to provide continuous potable water through metered connections to about 390,000 individual households in three districts including Bankura, North 24 Parganas, and Purba Medinipur.

Water will be provided through bulk systems which will include intakes, water treatment plants and transmission mains that will be connected to a grid with existing and new systems in project districts.

The project will deploy high-technology based smart water management system to manage the services. Nearly 350 jobs are expected to be generated by the project.

The total estimated cost of the project is $349m, with ADB offering $240m in loan and $3m in grant from the Japan Fund Poverty Reduction, financed by the Government of Japan. The West Bengal government will provide $106m in funding. ADB will also provide a $2m grant from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund.