Washington, DC (BBN)– The World Bank has approved a US$75 million concessional credit for the Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP) to increase access to safe water and hygienic sanitation in the rural areas of Bangladesh. 
The project will support safe water supply coverage through the construction of piped and non-piped water supply schemes in communities affected by arsenic or saline intrusion in 20 districts. The project will also expand hygienic sanitation.
The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent, a World Bank announcement said on Thursday.
Seventy two percent of the Bangladeshi population lives in rural areas and does not have uniform access to safe water. Contamination with arsenic and other pollutants significantly reduces safe water coverage in rural areas. The project will support the Government of Bangladesh in scaling up piped and non-piped water facilities in rural areas to provide clean water to around 1.6 million people.  
“Arsenic contamination is a major threat to safe water provision in Bangladesh, and the project focuses on arsenic hot spots,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. “A previous World Bank-financed project tested an innovative partnership between local governments and private providers to deliver piped water to rural communities, with positive results.  We are now scaling up this model, with community engagement to select sites, oversee works, and ensure operations and maintenance.”    
The project will also support sustainable sanitation services for the population, providing hygienic latrines and undertaking social mobilization and awareness-raising activities to promote hygiene and safe sanitation practices. 
BBN/SSR/AD-23Mar12-4:20 pm (BST)