The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a loan of $12m to the Caribbean island nation of Barbados to modernise its water supply infrastructure and waste water treatment equipment.

The loan will enable the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to rehabilitate the island’s drinking water distribution network.

It will be used to modernise water supply and sewerage systems on the island, to achieve  significant energy savings, reduction in water losses in networks and an improvement in wastewater treatment operations.

The focus will be on rehabilitating the aged and deteriorated and leaking infrastructure, pipes and reservoirs. It will also help the water-scarce island to protect itself from the ill-effects of climate change and frequent extreme weather conditions.

EIB vice-president Emma Navarro said: “The EIB is delivering to ensure secure supply of clean water and ensure that water infrastructure is protected from a changing climate. As the largest international lender to the water sector worldwide, the EIB is pleased to be financing and providing its expertise to this project.

“This project will help to increase access to more efficient and reliable water supply in Barbados and build on our strong track record of supporting high-impact investment on the island and across the Caribbean.”

Barbados will replace 16km of aged pipes, reservoirs and pumping stations

Specifically, the investment from EIB will be used for replacing about 16km of aged pipes and to repair water reservoirs and pumping stations, contributing to preserving the limited water resources on the island.

The funding is also expected to improve resilience of water supply system against drought conditions, while energy consumption in water supply network is also improved.

Furthermore, the loan includes a flexible component for the purchase of urgent sewage treatment equipment.

Barbados Water Authority chair Leodean Worrell said: “The Board, management and staff of the BWA sincerely thank the EIB for their relentless support.  There is so much rehabilitation work to be done on our aging infrastructure. Without assistance such as what he have received from the EIB then there is only so far that the determination of our team can go.

“Without the assistance as partnerships such as what we share with the EIB we would be so much further away in fulfilling our mandate to Barbadians – to be the most efficient, reliable, cost-effective and customer oriented utility contributing to the social and economic development of Barbados.”

Earlier this month, EIB agreed to provide €11m ($12.2m) funding for wastewater treatment in Gjilan/Gnjilane, Kosovo.

The funding will be used for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant and related sewerage network, and to revitalise the key infrastructure in the environmental protection sector.