ISLAMABAD - Japan has agreed to provide grants approximately worth 4.17 billion Yen (approx. Rs3.4 billion) to Pakistan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in order to improve water systems in Lahore and Faisalabad.

The bilateral agreements were signed for “the Project for Energy Saving in Water Supply System in Lahore” and “the project for Replacement of Pumping Machinery at Inline Booster Pumping Station & Terminal Reservoir in Faisalabad” between Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Saleem Sethi, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD). On the same occasion, Grant Agreements on the details of implementation of these projects were signed between Mitsuyoshi Kawasaki, Chief Representative of JICA and Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Joint Secretary of EAD.

The project in Lahore will contribute to energy saving of the water supply facilities and restoration of water production capacity through replacement of pumping equipment. 105 deteriorated underground water pumps will be replaced with the latest pumps. In order to improve proper operation and maintenance of tube wells, energy audit instruments will be introduced. Both steps will have a synergetic effect on lowering the high energy cost for Water and Sanitation Agency of Lahore. the agreement for detailed design of this project were signed earlier on January 28, 2015; today funding for actual construction in this project was agreed upon.

Under the project in Faisalabad, aged pumps will be renewed and the efficiency of the pump station and reservoir, which were previously installed under ADB’s assistance, will be improved. By doing so, the project expected to reduce electricity cost and increase daily maximum water supply.

Over the decade, Japan has been focusing its assistance worth 6.6 billion yen (approx. Rs5.5 billion) in total on improving water supply and sewerage in Faisalabad and improving capacity of WASA Faisalabad so that this city would be a model of advancement in the country.

Recognising huge challenges of water supply in urban areas caused by rapid population growth and referring to Japan’s contribution in the water sector, Hiroshi Inomata reaffirmed Japan’s commitment for stable and efficient water supply in Pakistan and said, “Both projects will contribute to stable water supply and saving energy, and bring about a synergetic effect with Japan’s on-going and completed projects”.

Kawasaki stated “JICA has supported improvement of water service by financial assistance to build infrastructure and technical assistance by JICA advisors to reduce energy cost, and will keep contributing to the better water service through further infrastructure strengthening, and establishment of a sustainable model for WASAs and Water and Sanitation academy. The two newly agreed projects are to enhance sustainable operation of water utilities in terms of water service as well as financial efficiency.”

The Government of Japan committed in November 2013 that it would provide 1.6 trillion Yen (approximately $16 billion or Rs1.4 trillion) of public and private finance over a period of three years from 2013 to 2015 to developing countries, which include Pakistan, to counter climate change. The two projects agreed on today form a part of this commitment.