A EUR 200 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for Acquedotto pugliese (AQP) was signed today in order to support the 2017-2022 investment programme of the largest integrated water services operator in Southern Italy. The agreement is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, commonly known as the “Juncker Plan”.

AQP, which is entirely owned by the Puglia Region, serves around 4 million people in Puglia and 30,000 in neighbouring Campania – around 7% of the entire national population. Both regions are part of Southern Italy, where improving water infrastructure is essential to increase people’s standards of living. The loan will help finance investments in both AQP’s water network, which is in need of a major overhaul and upgrading work, and in water treatment facilities, to increase the availability and quality of the potable water distributed to the local population.

In details, Acquedotto pugliese’s investments are aimed at reducing water waste, maintaining the efficiency of the facilities managed, improving water quality, increasing the amount of water available per capita, extending the areas covered by water and wastewater services and in general at complying with national and European environment legislation.

“With this loan we are supporting a flagship project in the Mezzogiorno, an area that has historically been at the heart of the lending policies of the European Union’s bank, but that in recent years has suffered from a serious investment gap, especially in the infrastructure sector”, EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco said. “Also thanks to the Investment Plan for Europe, the EIB is able to offer Aquedotto pugliese favourable financing conditions, thus creating financial added value”.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: "The EU is committed to every citizen having access to high-quality drinking water. The European Fund for Strategic Investments financing for Acquedotto pugliese will help improve drinking water quality for more than 4 million people in Southern Italy."