One of the poorest regions in northwest China has been granted a $200 million (128.7m) loan to improve water availability through wastewater reuse and better resource management.
The project is expected to benefit around 340,000 residents in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which is predominantly a desert territory with strong winds, low rainfall and a high evaporation rate.
Water is a critical concern for Kelamayi and Kuitun, two medium-sized cities in XUAR that receive as little as 100 millimetres of rain every year, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which is providing the fund.
The cash will help upgrade a wastewater treatment plant, construct pipelines to supply water and repair pipelines to stop leakages in the city of Kelamayi – which is believed to mean “black oil”, referring to the oil fields near the city. In Kuitun city, the loan will be used to improve water management, including repairing water supply pipes to reduce loss from leakage.
Diwesh Sharan, Director at ADB’s East Asia Department said: “The project will show how improvements in water management can facilitate sustainable urban development even in cities with an adjacent desert location and an arid and unfavorable climate.”