Water is a problem around the world from scarcity of drinking water and droughts that hit agriculture to flooding and violent storms that destroy homes and roads. Countries in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa have a hard time improving water supplies, because they also are struggling to address other pressing issues, such as poverty, conflict, or migration. Investment in water and sanitation projects is inevitably lower than it should be to achieve the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goal 6 ¨Water and Sanitation for all” by 2030.
The European Investment Bank is one of the largest lenders to the global water sector, with close to €79 billion invested in over 1 600 projects in the last sixty years. The EU bank is improving the water situation in many countries by investing in local and regional projects that among others, improve drinking water networks and build modern treatment plants to make water safer and more accessible.
In December 2021, the European Investment Bank financed the construction of a treatment plant and a network of pipelines that will supply clean water to 1.6 million people in Jordan Valley. The Bank also supported the building of a new water management system providing sanitation to 250.000 residents in Lake Victoria, Tanzania.
The European Investment Bank is constantly looking for new tools to increase water investments. In late 2018, we created sustainability awareness bonds to help finance water projects. Last year, the Bank adopted a new lending policy to back more projects that improve water management, reduce pollution and increase flood protection.
“Investments in water management are key for development,” says Juan Bofil, a senior EIB water engineer. “This need has become even more pressing following the COVID-19 pandemic, and needs to be addressed.”