OREANDA-NEWS. October 01, 2015. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a \\$5 million grant and will administer another \\$4 million grant from the Government of Australia to increase access to safe water and improve sanitation in Ebeye, the second largest city in the Marshall Islands.

“Ebeye has a high incidence of water-borne diseases stemming from an inefficient water supply system that is only able to service each household for up to one hour per week,” said Stephen Blaik, Principal Urban Development Specialist in ADB’s Pacific Regional Department. “This project will help upgrade the existing network, and raise awareness of basic hygiene practices to raise public health standards in this drought-prone area.”

With minimal groundwater reserves and no freshwater streams, Ebeye relies on a desalination plant for 78% of its potable water supply. The plant, operated by local firm Kwajalein Atoll Joint Utility Resources, produces a little over 590,000 liters of water (61.5 liters per resident) per day, but half of that is lost due to leaks in the supply network. 

The project aims to connect all households to upgraded freshwater and sewage systems and to drastically raise hygiene levels. This will result in an increase in the minimum quantity of freshwater produced to 105 liters per person per day; reduce sewage overflow events; treat all sewage to at least primary standards, and engage 90% of the population in hygiene awareness courses. It will also boost the capacity of the local utility to operate and maintain the new installations.

Both grants will be complemented by counterpart support of \\$10 million from the Government of the Marshall Islands. The project will run for 6 years with a target completion date of December 2022.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled \\$22.9 billion, including cofinancing of \\$9.2 billion.