Objective: to provide a secure supply of quality drinking water to 540 000 consumers in Liège Province

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted Compagnie Intercommunale Liégeoise des Eaux (CILE) a loan of EUR 120m to produce and distribute quality drinking water to the 540 000 people living in Liège Province.

This loan will enable CILE to finance its investment programme, which will amount to EUR 240m in total, over the next five years.

The EIB is providing this loan because the scheduled works aim to meet EU objectives concerning the supply of quality drinking water to citizens. Old lead piping will therefore be replaced: an EU directive requires distributors to supply water with a lead content of less than 10 micrograms per litre by the end of 2013.

This loan will also help to finance the largest component of the investment programme: the construction of a second pipeline from the Néblon (55 km of additional large diameter pipes).

As elsewhere in the Walloon Region, ageing water mains will have to be replaced or rehabilitated in order to reduce sometimes considerable water losses.

The water produced by CILE comes from groundwater abstraction. For this reason, investments are planned to protect the catchment areas and install water denitrification facilities.

This EUR 120m loan signed by Mr Jean-Géry Godeaux, Chairman of CILE, Mr André Gilles, Provincial Councillor and Chairman of Liège Provincial College, and Mr Philippe Maystadt, EIB President, comes on top of the EIB’s lending of EUR 1.2bn in Belgium’s water sector over the past five years.

Philippe Maystadt stated that he was delighted to “finance such an investment programme which chimes with the EIB’s priorities in the water sector” in accordance with the EU’s environmental policy, so helping to improve a vital daily service.

Jean-Géry Godeaux emphasised that “the attractive terms of the EIB loan will enable CILE to finance the works required while balancing the true cost of water billed to the consumer.”

Note to editors:

For the EIB, the purpose of such lending is to protect and improve the environment. As an institution committed to furthering the policies of the European Union, the EIB allocates to this objective almost one third of its loans within the EU, totalling some EUR 16bn last year, of which EUR 3.4bn in support of projects aimed at improving the quality of water (catchment, treatment and distribution) as well as waste management and treatment.

Created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958, the EIB is the European Union’s financial arm. Its main objective is to provide long-term loans for viable private or public investment projects, aimed at furthering the EU’s integration, cohesion and development objectives, broken down into six priority policies: economic and social cohesion; environmental protection and promotion of sustainable communities; research and innovation; support for SMEs; trans-European networks and support for secure, competitive and sustainable energy. It raises funds on the capital markets, which it uses to finance on the keenest terms projects that are in line with European strategies. In 2008, it provided EUR 57bn of funding in the European Union and, in 2009, in order to help the economy tackle the financial crisis, this figure has already reached more than EUR 55bn.