The World Bank has recently approved a $38 million loan to the National Public Water Supply Utility (SONEDE) - with the Guarantee of the Republic of Tunisia- for an urban water supply project.
Tunisia has achieved the highest access rates to water supply and sanitation services among middle-income countries in MENA through sound infrastructure policy. Ninety-six percent of urban dwellers and 52% of the rural population already have access to improved sanitation. By the end of 2006, access to safe drinking water will be close to universal (approaching 100% in urban areas and 90% in rural areas). However, the water supply sector faces specific challenges, including increased demands and scarce resources, and SONEDE must strengthen its efficiency while delivering high quality water and customer service.
The project aims at sustaining the reliability and quality of water service in Greater Tunis and selected urban centers, through augmentation, upgrade and renewal of the water supply infrastructure; and enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of SONEDE operations, through modernization of management practices and information systems, for better cost control, enhanced revenue and more responsive customer service.
“This is the ninth project financed by the World Bank for SONEDE, since the agency’s inception in 1968,” commented Pier Mantovani, the Task Team Leader. “We are dealing with a mature strong performer, seeking higher efficiency in its transition from expansion to consolidation.”