The SWCP provides sustainable water access for almost two million people

Saïss Water Conservation Project, Morocco

The Saïss Water Conservation Project (SWCP) is a €408 million environmental project to preserve the Saïss aquifer and promote sustainable water management on the Saïss Plain in Northern Morocco. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided a €120 million sovereign loan to co-finance the SWCP with the Kingdom of Morocco. In addition, EBRD mobilized €30 million in grant funding from the Green Climate Fund.

As a phased water scheme implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forest (MAMF), the SWCP includes the construction of a 135-kilometre main water transfer pipeline from the M’Dez dam to the primary distribution pipes or irrigation network on the Saïss Plain. This water pipeline infrastructure will allow the transfer of an annual 100 million m3 of surface water.

The SWCP accomplishes a number of sustainable infrastructure standards across the GFC-6, including:

Benefit sharing: The SWCP will result in increased water availability and consistency throughout the year, directly impact the annual agricultural yields in the area and improve economic inclusion. Once the water scheme is fully implemented, approximately 3,000 commercial and subsistence farms will benefit from the irrigation system. It is envisaged that up to 1.8 million people will also benefit from improved water capacity.

Environmental resilience: The Saïss aquifer has been severely over-exploited in the last decades. In addition, climate change is expected to have a negative impact on the Sebou/Saïss water basin, potentially transforming this fertile plain into a high desert plateau within 25 years.

The SWCP will change the paradigm of water provision for the Saïss irrigation system, enabling agricultural value chains (e.g. more than 3,000 farms) to switch from unsustainable groundwater abstraction (the Sebou/Saïss basin) to the use of sustainable and climate-resilient surface water resources (made available from the M’Dez dam). It will allow the restoration of the Saïss aquifer and contribute to the climate resilience of the Saïss Plain.

Social acceptability: An environmental and social action plan for the project was developed with MAMF. Along with mitigation measures, the plan includes the development and implementation of a land acquisition and compensation plan, and the implementation of a stakeholder engagement plan.

The SWCP will also improve women’s economic inclusion on the Saïss Plain by supporting women farmers’ access to economic opportunities in commercial agriculture. To address this, technical assistance grants will be mobilized to promote institutional capacity-building for the creation of women-led businesses (or equivalent entities such as cooperatives) and support to formalization of existing women-led informal activities in agriculture; provide technical and business advice services for women-led MSMEs on the Saïss Plain; facilitate access to inputs and market information; and improve knowledge and facilitate access to credit-related financial products.

Economic and institutional effectiveness: All contracts are subject to an open international tender in accordance with EBRD’s Procurement Policies and Rules. In addition, given the complex nature of the water scheme, a dedicated project implementation unit was established to coordinate all activities with MAMF.

Further, a number of technical assistance grants are supporting various activities to build capacity and include project implementation support; a support programme for farmers to encourage the adoption of efficient and modern irrigation techniques; and a PPP certification programme.

Future-proofing: Operation and maintenance of the SWCP will be carried out by the MAMF. To mitigate the risk of further depletion of the Saïss aquifer, EBRD mobilized technical cooperation grants to monitor the level of the aquifer and control water extraction. This risk is also mitigated by stricter rules for water extraction included in the new Law 36-15 on water.

Critical mass potential: The project represents an innovative and scalable response to climate change in the agricultural sector. The combination of a well-structured infrastructure component with technical assistance for both the users and the government means that this is a useful blueprint for future projects.

Çanakkale Solid Waste PPP, Turkey

The Çanakkale Solid Waste Project (CSWP) is a €15 million investment to develop an integrated solid waste management facility for municipal solid waste in the Çanakkale region of Turkey.

A first-of-its-kind in Turkey in terms of project scope, the operations are managed under a public-private partnership arrangement. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided a €9 million loan to the project, with the remainder financed by the sponsor, Suez Çanakkale RR Atık Hizmetleri A.Ş,. a special purpose company established in Turkey as a joint venture between French utility Suez Group and the Turkish waste management company, Altas.

The CSWP is creating a greener waste disposal programme, from collection to disposal

The CSWP accomplishes a number of sustainable infrastructure standards across the GFC-6, including:

Benefit sharing: The CSWP enables the concessionaire to take over the existing municipal solid waste operations and design, build, operate and finance a functional, environmentally friendly and permanent facility in compliance with EU standards. The CSWP will provide solid waste management services for the Çanakkale, Lapseki, Kepez, Çardak and Umurbey municipalities (union of municipalities) to provide waste collection, transport, recycling and disposal services for the benefit of a population of approximately 200,000.

Environmental resilience: The CSWP will bring significant environmental benefits, including a binary collection system, separation and treatment of waste prior to landfill disposal, improvements to the existing landfill (e.g. installation of leachate and landfill gas management systems) enabling EU-compliant landfill operations, energy production from gas, and medical waste sterilization. The CSWP benefits also include the rehabilitation of three waste collection centres and a new vehicle and maintenance depot.

Further improvements will be realized, including public education and awareness-raising programmes, a research-and-development system to improve the efficiency of the facility, and assessment of new technologies that could be employed in the future. The CSWP is expected to reduce waste disposed to landfill by 51,000 tons a year – a 40% decrease from the baseline – and to reduce carbon emissions by 97,000 tonnes a year – a 31% decrease from the baseline.

Social acceptability: An environmental and social action plan (ESAP) was prepared and agreed with the project company to address the identified environmental and social issues and impacts during preparation, construction and operation of the project to bring the project to EBRD performance requirements. In addition to mitigation measures, the ESAP integrated the implementation of a stakeholder engagement plan and supported the authorities with public awareness campaigns and educational activities.

Economic and institutional effectiveness: The project company was awarded a 29-year concession following an open tender to carry out the CSWP. The CSWP supported the EBRD’s ongoing policy dialogue with the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization to upgrade the legal framework for municipal service PPPs. Given the limited private-sector involvement in Turkey’s solid waste sector, the CSWP is expected to set an example for other municipalities and increase the political and social acceptance of PPP structures in the sector.

Future-proofing: The project company will assume the operation and maintenance (O&M) risks, thereby committing to provide quality of service through the contract lifetime. Any residual risks related to O&M have been further mitigated through contractual elements such as sponsor guarantees.

Critical mass potential: The CSWP is expected to demonstrate the economic feasibility of implementing an integrated approach to waste management, including waste recycling technologies for different waste streams with high potential for replicability under a PPP scheme.

The EBRD provided technical cooperation grants for an integrated solid waste management system resource audit in Çanakkale to assess how to monetize different waste streams (e.g. glass, PVC or electronic waste recycling) as well as analyse associated costs related to the establishment of dedicated collection systems.

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