Colombia’s environment ministry is offering technical assistance, training and software to small and rural municipalities to create and strengthen potable water and sanitation utilities. The objective is to improve business efficiency to ensure better services and, in some cases, a decrease in water rates.
The initial phases of this project, including its design and pilot programs, were launched previously and 98 utilities have already been created. [...] The ministry has identified a further 1,114 utilities which will receive assistance. [...] The modernization of small utilities is part of a long-term plan being carried out by the government with technical assistance from the Andean Development Corporation (CAF).
The ministry expects to carry out a 2.75bn-peso (US$1.25mn) investment in H1 [first half of 2009] to create 56 new utilities and strengthen 120 firms in small towns and rural areas. Authorities will also evaluate 500 small communities to determine their needs. Overall, the government aims to modernize 1,500 small utilities throughout the country to the benefit of some 4mn inhabitants in rural areas as part of the 2.2tn-peso investment in departmental water plans.
In the period 2007-2010 Colombia plans to invest US$4.5bn to raise urban potable water coverage from 97.4% to 98.5%, rural potable water coverage to 75.1% from 68.6%; urban sewerage coverage from 90.2% to 94.5% , rural sewerage coverage from 57.9% to 65.5%, and wastewater treatment levels from 8% to 30%. Of this amount, US$543mn will go to rural water and sanitation projects.
Local entities will provide US$842mn for the projects, while US$1.8bn will be covered by the Sistema General de Participaciones (SGP) Agua, or general revenue sharing system for water issues. Water utilities will contribute US$1.4bn and the national budget will cover US$541mn.
By 2019 the government Colombian authorities are aiming to provide 100% coverage in potable water and sewerage services in urban areas and 82.2% in rural areas.