Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic --- (METERING.COM) --- November 1, 2010

At least 10,000 new water meters are to be installed across the Dominican Republic, with support from the government of Spain and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The new meters will enable accurate billing and help to reduce waste.

The project is part of a broader project aimed at providing or improving water and sanitation services for at least 205,000 people in low income rural and peri-urban communities in the Dominican Republic. In particular the focus will be in seven provinces with high poverty levels: Independencia, Barahona, San Pedro de Macorís, San Cristóbal, Bahoruco, San Juan, and Elías Piña.

The delivery of water and sanitation services in those provinces will be deconcentrated to four regional offices of the Instituto Nacional de Aguas Potables y Alcantarillados (INAPA, the national water and sanitation institute). In rural areas, the service will be delegated to the Asociaciones Comunitarias de Acueductos Rurales (ASOCAR, rural community water associations). In both cases, the program will provide administrative, technical and operational support to these offices as well as human resources, training and equipment.

The program is expected to produce significant improvements in the overall efficiency and sustainability of water and sanitation system.

Currently less than 20 percent of households have water meters in INAPA’s area of coverage – covering the bulk of the country, excepting Santo Domingo and the provinces of Santo Domingo as well as the provinces of Santiago, Espaillat, La Romana and Puerto Plata –and billing and revenue collection is very low.

Spain will provide $35 million in grants from the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the IDB will provide $35 million in loans.