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US$1.7bn waterworks repairs head Iraq needs

IRAQ DESPERATELY needs to spend US$1.7bn on repairing its water infrastructure over the next 12 months, the United Nations and World Bank have said.

A joint UN/World Bank report published last month said that over the next four years US$35bn will be needed to rebuild Iraq.

The water and sanitation sector and electricity investment will account for most of the engineering work, says the report.

It estimates that over the four years US$7bn will be needed to rebuild water infrastructure, US$11bn for electricity and US$2bn for transport.

It specifically calls for a major focus on water infrastructure during the next 12 months with over US$1.7bn of work identified.

Over half the water funding should be targeted at raising infrastructure to pre-Gulf War levels and at expanding existing networks, says the report.

In transport Iraq needs to renew 1,000km of railway, to complete a 150km highways scheme, and to rehabilitate 1,750km of other roads.

This is on top of an estimated US$18bn programme to provide security and enable oil production to restart. This sum has been identified by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which is administering the war torn country.

The report was published ahead of a donor conference in Madrid last month which endorsed the priorities set out by the UN and World Bank. A multi-donor fund for Iraq, to be administered by the funding agencies, was set up.

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