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ADB’s $170 Million Boost Transforms Kochi’s Water Landscape

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a substantial $170 million loan to catalyze the modernization of water supply services in Kochi, a rapidly growing city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. This transformative initiative aims to enhance urban living standards, ensure clean water access, and fortify climate resilience.


Kochi, often referred to as the commercial capital of Kerala, has experienced rapid urbanization, emerging as one of India’s fastest-growing urban centers. Despite nearly universal water coverage, the city faces challenges such as intermittent supply, ranging from 5 to 24 hours a day. The situation is exacerbated by the common sight of tanker trucks delivering water to areas with low water pressure and inadequate supply. Climate-related issues, including severe dry spells and droughts in 2016, have further strained water availability.

Climate Resilience and Adaptation

With climate projections indicating increased variability in rainfall frequency and rising temperatures, the project emphasizes the importance of reliable and safe water services as a critical climate adaptation strategy. The goal is to address the impact of climate change on water availability and ensure sustainable urban development.

Project Overview

Infrastructure Upgrade:

  • Rehabilitation and upgrade of five existing water treatment plants with a total production capacity of 325 million liters per day (MLD).
  • Construction of a new plant with a capacity of 190 MLD.

Distribution System Enhancement:

  • Replacement of approximately 700 kilometers of pipes to minimize treated water loss.
  • Introduction of a real-time monitoring system for efficient distribution.

Metering System Improvement:

  • Upgrade of around 146,000 water meters to high-quality and reliable models.

Preventive Maintenance and Asset Management:

  • Implementation of long-term performance-based contracts for operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation activities.

Institutional Strengthening

The project aims to enhance the capacity of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) through:

  • Introduction of a mobile app for billing and collection.
  • Development of a geographic information system-based maintenance management system.
  • Upgrading of the laboratory information system.
  • Comprehensive training for technical and managerial staff.

Inclusive Initiatives

Female Employment Focus:

  • Special emphasis on training initiatives to promote female employment in the construction, operation, and maintenance of water supply systems.

Community Engagement:

  • Community awareness programs with active participation from women (50%).
  • Topics include household supply, water audits, water quality, hygiene, menstrual hygiene, and waterborne diseases.

ADB’s Commitment

Established in 1966 and owned by 68 members, ADB consistently champions sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. The endorsement of the Kochi water modernization project aligns with ADB’s broader goals of eradicating extreme poverty and fostering prosperity, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability.

Important Questions Related to Exams

Q: What is the primary objective of the $170 million loan from the Asian Development Bank for Kochi’s water modernization project?

A: The primary objective is to transform Kochi’s water landscape by elevating urban living standards, ensuring clean water access, and bolstering climate resilience through comprehensive infrastructure upgrades and institutional strengthening.

Q: How does the project address the challenges faced by Kochi in terms of water supply?

A: The project addresses challenges such as intermittent water supply by rehabilitating existing water treatment plants, constructing new ones, enhancing distribution systems, and implementing preventive maintenance practices. These measures aim to minimize water loss and improve overall water availability.

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