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Better water for Argentina's rural provinces
While potable water coverage in Argentina’s larger cities is estimated at upwards of 90 percent, only around 45 percent of rural populations has access to piped-in water. This is the case in the province of Santa Fé, where 1.8 million people rely on groundwater sources that are frequently polluted by aging, deteriorating infrastructure. This problem is compounded by the presence of naturally occurring elements in groundwater such as arsenic, nitrates, fluorine, chlorides and sulfates.
This pollution not only jeopardizes the health of the province’s citizens, but also limits the economic potential in an area that supplies the country with around one-quarter of its national meat exports and one-third of national milk production – in addition to being the highest producer of soybeans.
Argentina’s government has devised a number of strategies to address this situation in both its National Development Plan 2016-2020, as well as Vision 2030 – the Provincial Strategy Plan of Santa Fé – which defines access to water as a basic right.
OFID’s partnership with Argentina, which began in 2014, falls firmly in line with these plans. The organization has approved US$150 million in public sector lending to help strengthen Argentina’s water and sanitation sector, and in late October, OFID signed its most recent agreement with the country: a US$50 million loan for the ‘Desvio Arijon Water Supply Project Phase II’ in Santa Fé Province.
Co-financing from OFID’s sister institution, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, as well as from the provincial Santa Fé government, will enable the project to construct 122 km of pipelines to connect the Desvío Arijón water purification plant with the city of Rafaela and surrounding towns, benefitting more than 220,000 people.
Better water quality will improve health and living standards and favorably impact the environment, helping to attract more investments and boosting the local economy. The project is also expected to help strengthen the agricultural sector by enabling improved crop irrigation and livestock management practices. Tourism also stands to receive a boost – providing yet more income-generating opportunities to locals.
OFID and Argentina
All of OFID's public sector loans to Argentina are in line with the organization's strategic focus on the energy-water-food nexus approach to sustainable development. Furthermore, OFID has approved US$20 million through its private sector window to support the country's small and medium-sized agribusiness.