$245 million ADB funding to improve access to water in West Bengal

The Asian Development Bank has approved $245 million in funding to improve access to safe, sustainable and reliable water in West Bangal state.

The fund will be combined with $2 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty, $106 million in funding from the government of West Bengal and $2 million grant from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund.

The development will help improve access to water for a total of 1.65 million people.

The funding will provide continuous potable water through metered connections to about 390,000 individual households in three districts—Bankura, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur.

The water will be provided through bulk water systems consisting of intakes, water treatment plants and transmission mains that will be connected to a grid with existing and new systems in the project districts.

In addition, a smart water management system will be deployed under the project to help consumers improve their water efficiency.

The project is due for completion in June 2024 and will help reduce arsenic, fluoride and salinity (causes of cancer) affecting the population due to use of untreated ground water.

According to the ADB, in West Bengal, more than 90% of the rural population, about 72% of India’s population, are at risk from arsenic and 5% of the population at risk from fluoride contamination