In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the industrial city of Gazipur near the capital Dhaka, Bangladesh will develop a wastewater and sludge treatment system with private sector participation in two of its urban zones, aiming to treat domestic sewage that will benefit nearly 230,000 households.
The move follows the signing of an agreement between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Public-Private Partnership Authority of Bangladesh to provide transaction advisory services to help set up a wastewater management system in Gazipur and Tongi areas of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC). With an estimated cost of $82 million, the pilot project will include a sewerage network of nearly 137 kilometers, two sewage treatment plants of about 56 million liters per day cumulative capacity, mechanical desludging of septic tanks, and transportation of fecal sludge to three treatment plants.
"The Gazipur Wastewater Treatment Project is a big step towards meeting the government of Bangladesh's goal of improving environmental and wastewater treatment standards in line with the Sustainable Development Goals," said Sultana Afroz, Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh and Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Public-Private Partnership Authority. "The Gazipur project will serve as a model for rolling out similar public-private partnership projects across the country with the aim of improving citizens' health and increasing Bangladesh's market competitiveness by eliminating untreated wastewater flowing into the ground and water bodies by 2035."
Gazipur, which is a major hub for manufacturing of readymade garments, the country’s main export item, has seen rapid urbanization over the past two decades. At present, the city of over two million people does not have a wastewater treatment plant or a centralized sewerage network. Nearly 70 percent of the 230,000 households in Gazipur and Tongi areas rely on a decentralized system, which is typically a conventional septic tank and pit latrines, while the wastewater generated by the remaining 30 percent is discharged directly into open drains or water bodies.
“The economic fallout from the impact of COVID-19 makes mobilizing funds and expertise from the private sector more important than ever,” said Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “Public-private partnerships (PPP) are a proven way to help governments crowd in private financing to deliver quality services for people. I am happy to see PPP projects that improve the quality of life for the people of Bangladesh.”
The project was the result of a three-year effort by the Bangladesh Water Multi Stakeholder Partnership, which is being facilitated by the 2030 Water Resources Group, a public-private-civil society multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank Group.
Globally, IFC's advice in public-private partnerships is helping national and municipal governments in developing countries partner with the private sector to offer tangible benefits to millions of people by improving access to education, energy, transport, healthcare, and sanitation. IFC has advised on the structuring of nine PPPs in the water sector, including supply and treatment, and is currently working on three projects worldwide. Last year, IFC assisted the Bangladesh government to develop a water distribution network and supply facilities with a capacity to produce 340 million liters of potable water per day for the estimated 1.5 million residents of Purbachal, a new township near the capital.