The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$ 265 million loan to continue infrastructure works in the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin which borders Buenos Aires City. The works will improve the wastewater system, which has become an open cyst pool, by reducing organic pollution of the river by 80%.
”This is a unique infrastructure project in the world, due to the size of the construction and the number of users it will benefit: more than 4.3 million people. It will improve not only the sewage transportation capacity and the quality of the service, but also the sanitation of the Matanza-Riachuelo basin thanks to the treatment of effluents”, said Malena Galmarini, President of AySA, (Buenos Aires metropolitan water and sewage company). (*)
“I want to thank President Alberto Fernández, Minister Gabriel Katopodis and Secretary Gustavo Beliz, for their commitment to revert the situation of paralysis that the Riachuelo System had in December 2019, and the constant support to the World Bank’s members, allowing us today with this loan to ensure the completion of a fundamental work for the access to this essential service, especially in these times of global crisis”.
The new financing will allow the completion of the expansion works of the sewer main of Metropolitan Buenos Aires (known as the Riachuelo System) carried out by AySA. Once operational, the system will be able to serve an additional 1.5 million people and improve service to more than 4.3 million people.
“For over a decade, we have been working to promote sustainable development in the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin. This new financing will accelerate a key component of the comprehensive solution to reduce river pollution, thus improving the quality of life of millions of people living in the basin,” said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
In these challenging times, the World Bank's program seeks to focus on improving services to address the needs of the country's most vulnerable population while at the same time targeting green and sustainable growth.
The project will mainly finance the Riachuelo pretreatment plant, located in Dock Sud (Avellaneda), which will treat liquid waste from the left bank collector before it is discharged into the Río de la Plata through a 12-km underground pipeline.
The project will also reduce industrial pollution thanks to the construction of an industrial tanning park and an industrial water treatment plant in Lanús District, where small- and medium-scale tanneries in the basin will be able to operate with low environmental impact.
Since 2009, the World Bank has supported the sustainable development of the Matanza Riachuelo Basin. The Bank has disbursed three loans totaling US$ 1.227 billion destined to improve sanitation, industrial regulation, land planning and flood management in the basin. This is the World Bank's largest sanitation investment project in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The new financing for the Sustainable Development of the Matanza Riachuelo Basin Project is a variable spread loan, with a 32-year maturity period and a seven-year grace period.
(*) Malena Galmarini, is the daughter of the former political chief of Tigre, an important municipality of Buenos Aires, and the wife of Sergio Massa, a former presidential candidate and currently president of the Lower House of Congress.