The Republic of Kosovo, Minister of Finance, Avdullah Hoti, and the World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo, Marco Mantovanelli have signed the Letters of Agreements for the Kosovo Water Security and Canal Protection Project.

The project aims to restore the main water canal in Kosovo – Ibër Canal – to its original capacity. This will ensure that more reliable and better quality water benefits approximately 500,000 people residing in the central Kosovo canal basin, and becomes a supporting factor for economic and social development.

Kosovo Minister of Finance Avdullah Hoti said “This agreement as other cooperation with the World Bank serves to improve the wellbeing of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo."

The Ibër Canal is a multipurpose water conveyance system supplying water for energy production, mining, industrial, agricultural, and household uses. Central Kosovo, including the capital Pristina, depends almost entirely on this canal to meet its water needs.

Built in the 1970s, the canal infrastructure has been deteriorating over the years. Physical damage and pollution, as a result of landslides and mudslides, unstable soil, runoff from the surrounding farms and streets, garbage, and other debris, have affected the transit capacity of the canal as well as the quality of water.

World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo Marco Mantovanelli said: “Water is at the center of economic and social development; it is vital to maintain health, grow food, generate energy, create jobs, and manage the environment including the impacts of floods or droughts.

“Currently, central Kosovo, the area with the highest population density in the country that holds Kosovo’s largest development potential, is challenged by limited water resources. The World Bank is pleased to support Kosovo in making its water supply cleaner and more reliable”.

One component of the project finances works to improve the Ibër Canal transit capacity, enable closure of the canal for maintenance, strengthen the canal’s structural safety against extreme events, and enhance Gazivoda dam safety.

These works include constructing a reservoir in Mihaliq area, which will enable balancing water demand and supply over the 2035 horizon and cutting the canal flow without impacting water users, whenever needed to rehabilitate the canal's sections or amid extreme events.

Another component finances works and equipment for water resources protection and management to increase the system’s operational efficiency and safety and to protect water quality against renewed or accidental pollution and other man-made disruptions.

The project will be fully financed by a €22m ($24.5m) credit from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, which is the fund for the countries with greatest development needs.

IDA credits are provided on concessional terms with zero or very low interest charge and long repayment periods. The credit for the Kosovo Water Security and Canal Protection Project has maturity of 25 years including 5 years of grace period.

The project will be implemented over six years by the Hydro Economic Iber-Lepenc Joint Stock Company and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Kosovo.