After a total investment of 13.2 million Euro channelled through KfW – the German development bank – the rehabilitation of the water supply and sewerage network in Lezha has completed. The inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of Prime Minister Rama, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Damian Gjiknuri, Mayor of Lezha Fran Frrokaj, Swiss Ambassador Christoph Graf and Deputy German Ambassador Anke Holstein.
“This was a performance-based approach (by the water utility) and then you come with the investment. I think this is also the approach implemented by the water reform and there Switzerland and Germany in tandem will continue with other projects in other cities in southern and central Albania”, said Swiss Ambassador Christoph Graf during the inauguration.
“Around 13.4 million Euro have been invested in this project. Lezha's inhabitants and those in the surrounding areas have now 24 hours water supply with the right pressure. The current measures to end informality are necessary just like those in the legislative, institutional and financial framework", said Deputy German Ambassador Anke Holstein
Prime Minister Rama commended the Lezha water utility as a good example where politics is separate from serving citizens. “I want to assure all Lezha citizens that we will continue this work but at the same time I want to emphasise again the necessity of working together - government, municipality, the water utility - so that we may move forward with the reform. Because if this investment is not supported financially through a healthy balance in terms of payment for all the water we consume, then not only we will not be able to include all the territory of the new municipality in the 24 hours water supply, but on the contrary we will also lose gradually all this precious investment done so far", said the Prime Minister.
The construction work was co-financed by the Swiss Government with a grant of 10 million Euro and the German government through KfW with 3 million Euro. Whereas the European Union contributed with 250,000 Euro that went towards building the capacities of Lezha’s water and sewerage utility. Nearly 128 kilometers of water network pipes and connections were installed and 3 new water reservoirs constructed. As a result access to drinking water supply has increased to 95% of Lezha citizens from 80% in 2014.
With this completed investment Lezha joins Korça and Pogradec among the Albanian cities that enjoy uninterrupted water supply 24 hours and 7 days a week. The city’s water utility had to prepare a cost-coverage and tariff plan, and increase its management capacities in order to qualify for the Swiss-German investment. A recent report stated the collection rate in Lezha reached 84% which is a big increase from previous years and that citizens express a higher satisfaction with the water supply service.
This investment was part of the ‘Municipal Infrastructure Program I’ by Switzerland, Germany and the EU which has currently reached phase III and IV and is continuing to improve water and sewerage infrastructure in 7 municipalities in the centre and south of the country. Another 400,000 citizens are expected to enjoy reliable and hygienic water supply at reasonable tariffs and improved services at the end of the programme.
The water sector is a priority area for the German Financial Cooperation with Albania for which the German Government has committed more than 335 million Euro since 1989.