Niamey is one of the warmest and fastest-growing cities in the world. Access to taps and drinking water in the capital of Niger is not always easy, but it is vital in this arid country. A new water treatment plant improves drinking water facilities for 400,000 inhabitants. Thanks to new connections, some people now have access to drinking water for the first time. That benefits businesses, jobs, incomes and health conditions.
Access to clean drinking water is not always easy in the Nigerien capital of Niamey, where temperatures rarely fall below 32 degrees Celsius. The population is rising rapidly and existing drinking water plants are either antiquated or incapable of meeting demand. Inhabitants need water to survive, but clean drinking water is also vital in hospitals, schools and enterprises of all sizes, such as restaurants and stalls where lemonade is sold.
“Clean drinking water is needed for livelihoods, schools and hospitals. And it creates economic opportunities.”
The experience of the team Infra International Programs at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)* in financing public infrastructure projects in difficult conditions prompted the Niger government to submit an application to construct a water treatment plant. This project was then tackled together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). After various preliminary studies, the plan for a modern water treatment plant was elaborated, and work started in 2018. The Société de Patrimoine des Eaux du Niger (SPEN), the state enterprise in Niger responsible for drinking water infrastructure, was closely involved in the process right from the start.
* This project was originally started by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and has now moved to the portfolio of Invest International, as are the associated teams of the project.Read more about the background of Invest International
On 18 March 2021, World Water Way, the moment had finally arrived. That was when Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of Niger, officially opened the Goudel IV plant. It uses water from the Niger, which flows through Niamey as the lifeblood of the area.
“Better access to clean drinking water is vital in meeting demand for water in the coming years, because the population is increasing rapidly,” says Amadou Mamadou Sekou, general director of the SPEN.
In collaboration with the EIB and the AFD, the drinking water project was financed through a subsidy on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An investment of some 60.4 million euros. In addition, the EIB and AFD are investing in the water network and connections. Implementation is being coordinated by SPEN.
The location near the Niger river where the water treatment plant has been built. This was at the start.
Every day the new plant purifies 40,000 cubic metres of water from the River Niger. A new water system and connections supplies water to 15,700 additional households. That amounts to 200,000 people.
Another part of the scheme involves supplying purified water from the Niger to 170 new public taps in the city. Moreover, another 200,000 inhabitants who were already connected to the water network are now assured of their water supply because water shortages in the current system have been eliminated. That means that a total of 400,000 inhabitants of Niamey now have access to clean drinking water. This project not only improves water supply and quality, but the new purification plant is also more stable and environmentally friendly. Antiquated and polluting systems have been replaced.
A total of 400,000 inhabitants of Niamey now have access to clean drinking water.
“Some of the purified water from the Niger supplies, thanks to this project, 170 new, public water taps.”
Paul Tholen, the Dutch ambassador in Niger, is happy with the construction of the water treatment plant, which assures thousands of people in Niamey of clean drinking water. “Improving drinking water facilities in the capital helps to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the country, reduces water-related infectious illnesses and stimulates the economy. It’s vital for stability in the region.”
Ambroise Fayolle, the then vice president of the EIB, spoke at the opening of the plant: “We have reached a milestone in collaboration between Niger and the European partners. The EIB is delighted to offer long-term financing alongside technical support for the Goudel IV plant, thereby guaranteeing the supply of drinking water for thousands of people in Niamey. The water project helps to protect public health and safeguard lives during future droughts and floods.”
As a follow-up to this successful collaboration, there are plans to construct a second water treatment plant in Niamey.
As a follow-up to this successful collaboration, there are plans to construct a second water treatment plant in Niamey. The completion of this Karey Gorou plant will mean the production of an additional 100,000 cubic metres of purified water every day. Invest International, the World Bank, the EIB and the AFD have reached an agreement with the Niger government to provide 220 million euros to finance this project. The tender for the construction is currently being prepared.
The Netherlands is supporting this new project with a donation agreement worth 30 million euros, made possible through the Development Related Infrastructure Investment Vehicle (DRIVE) programme which invests in infrastructural projects. Once the plant is ready, another one million people will have access to clean drinking water.
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