In Baku: Saida Bagirli (99 412) 492 19 41
In Washington: Miriam Van Dyck (202) 458 2931
WORLD BANK SUPPORTS REHABILITATION OF AZERBAIJAN IRRIGATION
AND DRAINAGE INFRASTRUCTURE
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2006--The World Bank yesterday approved additional
financing for the Rehabilitation and Completion of Irrigation and Drainage Infrastructure
Project (RIDIP) in the amount of US$5 million equivalent. The provision of additional
financing is in response to the Government's request to help cover the increased
cost of the project due to the rising price of construction materials and fuel,
as well as the more than originally estimated rehabilitation needs, and will
add to the original US$42 million credit from the International Development
Association for the project.
Azerbaijan has favorable growing conditions for a wide variety of crops, the
cultivation of which is largely dependent on irrigation. Almost all agricultural
land is under arid or semi-arid conditions and, therefore, irrigation is a key
input for reliable crop production. More than 80 percent of all arable land
in the country is equipped for irrigation. Many of the irrigation systems were
developed during the former Soviet Union period with little or no attention
to economic costs and viability. During the transition, country did not have
sufficient resources to maintain the main distribution irrigation systems and
drainage channels, resulting in deterioration of the infrastructure facilities.
In order to prevent further deterioration of the irrigation and drainage system,
the Government and World Bank initiated RIDIP to rehabilitate some important
parts of the Samur-Absheron Canal system that provides irrigation water to the
large agricultural area in the north of the country and is a major contributor
of drinking water to the Baku metropolitan area. As of today, a significant
portion of physical works on this canal system has been completed. The project
also supports completion of construction of the Mil-Mugan Collector Drain to
reduce water logging and salination in the central and southern agricultural
regions of the country. The works under this activity are also well advanced.
The additional credit will help finance a cost overrun due to higher costs
for the rehabilitation and completion of the irrigation and drainage infrastructure
works under the original project. The cost overrun mainly occurred due to an
increase during the last few years in the price of construction materials (in
particular steel and cement, and fuel); and a greater than anticipated volume
of rehabilitation work for one component of the project. The original project
development objectives and expected outcomes will remain unchanged.
Azerbaijan joined the World Bank in 1992. Since then, commitments to the country
total approximately US$ 930 million for 30 operations.
For more information about the World Bank's work in Azerbaijan, visit www.worldbank.org.az.