World’s Largest Permafrost City Wins EBRD Drinking-Water Funding

Yakutsk, the largest city where the soil is perennially frozen, won a 2.1 billion-ruble ($64 million) loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a new reservoir and water-treatment plant.

The eastern Siberian city will receive funding for the biggest water project the development bank has financed in Russia to help raise drinking water to European Union and Russian standards as supplies have reached a critical level, the bank said in a statement.

The 13-year loan to the city of 270,000 people is important as Yakutsk tries to adapt to changes in the course of the Lena River, the sole source of city water, as well as reduced depth that’s affecting the region, the bank said.

Severe climate significantly increases the cost of operating Yakutsk’s water supply and treating wastewater. During Siberia’s long winter, its drinking water has to be heated before being pumped through the distribution system to stop pipes from freezing. Hot water also has to be injected into sewer pipes to make wastewater treatment possible in Arctic temperatures, the EBRD said yesterday.

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