EIB and Aquafin sign €200m deal to finance climate adaptation and mitigation in Flanders

EIB and Aquafin sign €200m deal to finance climate adaptation and mitigation in Flanders © Aquafin

(IN BRIEF) The European Investment Bank (EIB) and wastewater treatment company Aquafin have signed a €200 million financing contract to support 150 climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in Flanders. The funding will support the separation of stormwater and wastewater, energy savings, and the installation of solar parks. The partnership between EIB and Aquafin began in 1994, and the funding has contributed to the construction of sewage treatment plants, pumping stations, and water pipeline projects, leading to improved surface water quality. The financing will also contribute to the Clean Oceans Initiative.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 27-Apr-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, and wastewater treatment company Aquafin have signed a €200 million financing contract to support 150 optimization projects that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is the 12th loan agreement between the EIB and Aquafin since their collaboration began in 1994, with over €2 billion in funding provided to improve and expand water treatment in Flanders.

Of the total funding, €81.7 million will be invested in 41 projects focused on separating stormwater to cope with the effects of intense precipitation and drought. The financing will also support projects in energy savings and the installation of solar parks for power generation.

“The EIB became Aquafin’s first financial backer in 1994. Since then, we have been able to count on the EIB for almost half of our long-term loans, or about €2 billion,” said Aquafin CEO Jan Goossens. “This funding shows that we will continue to be able to count on them following the implementation of the new collaborative agreement with the Flemish region. That’s why Aquafin considers the EIB to be more than just an investor. It is also a genuine partner for clean watercourses in Flanders, both today and in the future.”

EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters added: “The EIB has invested for decades in improving water management in Belgium, and this has had a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of everyone in the country. Moreover, Aquafin has always been an extremely important partner in Flanders, and it has worked with the EIB for decades. In the coming years, water — and clean water in particular — will become increasingly important to society and the economy, including in the context of climate change. I’m therefore extremely proud that the European Investment Bank has been able to play such a key role in this.”

Since the EIB’s first loan to Aquafin in 1994, the quality of surface waters in Flanders has significantly improved, with wastewater treatment increasing from 26% to 86% by 2022. This progress was largely made possible by the financing provided by the EIB, which has contributed to the construction of 311 sewage treatment plants and 113 pumping stations, and completed 1,565 water pipeline projects with a total pipeline length of over 10,000 km, including more than 130 projects that separate stormwater and wastewater.

The financing will also contribute to the Clean Oceans Initiative, aimed at cleaning up seas and oceans as a counterweight to climate change.

The EIB and Aquafin’s long-standing partnership has resulted in significant positive impacts, and this latest funding agreement will support Aquafin’s ongoing efforts to improve water treatment and promote climate action in Flanders.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s long-term lending institution and is owned directly by the EU Member States. It provides long-term financing for sound projects that contribute to the achievement of EU policy goals. The EIB is the only bank that represents the interests of the EU Member States and is owned entirely by them. The Bank works closely with other the EU institutions to implement EU policy. In 2020, the Bank provided nearly €1.3 billion in loans to Belgian projects in various sectors, including healthcare, water management, education and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since 2012, the EIB has made almost €2 billion available for water projects in Belgium in collaboration with parties including SWDE, TMVW, HydroBru, SPGE and Aquafin.

Aquafin constructs and manages the infrastructure that treats the domestic wastewater of some 5 million people in Flanders, on behalf of the Flemish region. This includes carrying out projects in which the Flemish region takes over investments from municipalities in order to ease their financial burden. When carrying out projects, the company makes every effort to create space for water and facilitate stormwater infiltration and buffering. To date, Aquafin has delivered projects worth a total of €4.5 billion for the Flemish region, and it currently has projects worth a further €1.9 billion in its portfolio.

Press contacts:

EIB: Tim Smit, tel.: +352 4379 89076, email t.smit@eib.org,
Aquafin: Anja De Wit, tel.: +32 (0)485 55 9495, email anja.dewit@aquafin.be

SOURCE: European Investment Bank


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