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 Press release - Press Release (WB)

 Press release date: 01.03.2006

Azeri version

 

 

Contacts:

In Baku: Saida Bagirli (99 412) 492 19 41

sbagirli@worldbank.org

In Washington: Miriam Van Dyck (202) 458 2931

mvandyck@worldbank.org

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.




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