Iraqi and multinational force officials are taking on a US$50 million programme to rehabilitate 200 water treatment and sewage facilities. Besides repairing the water supply, the program will create hundreds jobs for the local economies, said Michael Stanka, a project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Two wars, more than a decade of sanctions and insurgent attacks on reconstruction workers have left Iraq’s infrastructure in deplorable condition. Water and sewage treatment plants are falling apart and need immediate repair, he said.

In a separate US$4.7 million initiative coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with Iraq’s Ministry of the Environment and the Japanese government, Iraqi scientists will evaluate environmental and health risks posed by conflict-related contamination and damage. The project will focus on evaluating effects of sulphur fires on surface water, groundwater, soil and vegetation.

Funding for a US$9.1 million barrier to keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has been assembled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Asian carp threaten both the ecology and the economy of the Great Lakes system,” said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt.

Veolia Environnement has won two new water management contracts worth $790 million in total. The contracts, signed with the towns of Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, and Weinan, near Xian, involve rehabilitation and operation of drinking water production plants.

The Hohhot contract will generate $600 million over a period of 30 years and produce 515,000 m3/day for the city’s 2.5 million inhabitants. The Weinan contract was signed for a period of 22 years and capacity, after expansion, will be 160,000 m3/day.

The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has awarded the Mohamed Abdulmohsin Kharafi & Sons the US$99 million contract to build a sewage treatment plant and associated facilities at Agaila. The two year contract provides for the construction of a pumping station, solid waste treatment plant, sanitary drainage network and related works, including the installation of gravity lines and pressure mains, to be linked to the Riqqa area by three 20km-long ductile iron pipelines.

In an on-going project to help reduce land degradation in Namibia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Rural Development is to spend a further US$4.8 million providing 62 more water points in rural areas. Permanent Secretary Kahijor Kahuure said the number of active water points in the country is now 6867, reaching 87.2% of the rural population. He added that these projects are centred on reducing the number of animals in some areas and sensitising the community to the dangers of overgrazing.

The European Union’s Euro-Mediterranean Partnership financial programme, MEDA, was signed recently and included a ¬20 million infrastructure programme for water. The programme includes an update of the resource inventory, support for the reform of supply and demand management and integrated management in a catchment area.

Work has commenced on a US$460 million contract in the state of Kerala, the largest single water supply project in the state’s history. Funded by an 85% loan from the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), the project, when complete, will benefit 4.5 million people.

The South-Western Towns Water & Sanitation Project has received US$4 million from the Austrian government, 90% of the money needed. It is hoped that 55 municipalities will be connected to water supply by 2007 with sustainable sanitation an additional project aim.

A US$2.7 million water and sanitation project in Masindi, funded by the European Union and the government, has been completed. The contract included rehabilitation and extension of the treatment works and distribution network and rehabilitation and construction of water storage reservoirs.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant package of nearly US$2 million to boost integrated water resource management and irrigated agriculture development. It will also rehabilitate, modernize and develop new irrigation and water resource infrastructure, lay the foundations of improved agricultural productivity, and ensure the integrity of watershed resources, the bank said.

A joint venture between ADP Teknologi and PJ Indah has won the US$17.1 million Telibong wastewater treatment plant project in Sabah. Part of the Telibong-Telipok Water Supply Scheme, the works consist of the planning, design, construction, supervision, testing and commissioning of an 80,000 m3/d water treatment plant to offset water shortages in the

The announcement of a 10-point plan by Cape Town’s city council is aimed at changing people’s water use patterns for good. Measures include changes to the tariff system, new building regulations and restrictions on domestic use for sprinklers and swimming pools.

Malaysia will proceed with its controversial plan to build the US$1.2 billion Bakun dam, but the existing project must be restructured, said deputy prime minister Najib Razak. “There has been speculation in the past that the government planned to pull out of the controversial project in eastern Sarawak, but the government was carrying out a review,” he explained. The dam involves flooding an area the size of Singapore, and has attracted fierce criticism because of its alleged harmful impact on the environment and the evacuation of 10,000 villagers.

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