ADB Unveils $170 Million Plan to Revolutionize Kochi’s Water Infrastructure

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a significant $170 million loan to modernize water supply services in Kochi, a city in the Indian state of Kerala. This funding initiative is a part of a comprehensive project aimed at transforming Kochi’s water landscape. Here’s a detailed look at this development and its expected impact:

Overview of the ADB’s Investment

  1. Loan Approval: The Asian Development Bank has sanctioned a $170 million loan to enhance and modernize water supply services in Kochi. This move aims to improve urban living standards, ensure access to clean water, and increase climate resilience​​​​.
  2. Urbanization and Water Challenges in Kochi: Kochi, often regarded as Kerala’s commercial capital, has been experiencing rapid urbanization. This growth has led to intermittent water supply, with availability ranging from 5 to 24 hours a day, depending on the locality. This situation has necessitated the use of tanker trucks for water delivery in areas with low water pressure and inadequate supply​​.
  3. Climate Resilience and Inclusive Development: The project is aligned with climate adaptation strategies, considering the increased variability in rainfall and rising temperatures. Hikaru Shoji, Senior Urban Development Specialist at ADB, emphasizes that access to quality water is crucial for inclusive development, impacting the health and well-being of especially vulnerable communities​​.

Project Details and Goals

  1. Infrastructure Enhancement: The project involves the rehabilitation and upgrade of five existing water treatment plants, cumulatively producing 325 million liters per day (MLD). Additionally, a new water treatment plant with a capacity of 190 MLD is planned. Around 700 kilometers of pipes will be replaced to minimize treated water loss, and a real-time monitoring system will be introduced​​.
  2. Upgrading Water Meters and Maintenance Practices: Approximately 146,000 water meters will be upgraded to more reliable models. The project will also introduce preventive maintenance and asset management practices through a performance-based contract. This includes the operation and maintenance of water distribution infrastructure, as well as rehabilitation and upgrading activities​​.
  3. Strengthening Institutional Capacity: The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) will be strengthened through the introduction of a mobile app for improved billing and collection, a GIS-based maintenance management system, and an upgraded laboratory information system. There will also be comprehensive training for technical and managerial staff at KWA​​.
  4. Promoting Female Employment and Community Engagement: The project focuses on training initiatives to promote female employment in the construction, operation, and maintenance of water supply systems. Community awareness programs, with 50% participation from women, will be conducted to enhance knowledge on household water supply, water audits, water quality, and hygiene. These programs will also address important topics like menstrual hygiene and waterborne diseases​​.
  5. Alignment with ADB’s Goals: The Asian Development Bank, established in 1966, has been a proponent of sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. The endorsement of the Kochi water modernization project aligns with ADB’s broader goals of fostering prosperity, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability​​.

The ADB’s substantial investment in Kochi’s water infrastructure is a transformative step towards enhancing urban living standards and climate resilience in one of India’s fastest-growing urban centers. By focusing on modernization, institutional strengthening, community engagement, and inclusive development, this project promises to significantly improve water supply services in Kochi, paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient urban future.



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