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Serbia: World Bank supports improvement of irrigation, drainage and flood control

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BELGRADE, July 12, 2005 -- The World Bank's Board today approved a US$25 million project to support rehabilitation and improvement of drainage and flood control infrastructure in Serbia, and the development of a minor irrigation program in the hilly regions of Central and Southern Serbia.

The Irrigation and Drainage Rehabilitation Project aims at improving economic performance through increased agricultural productivity, increased incomes for rural population and reduced losses from flooding. Some 250,000 Serbian citizens will be better protected from floods, about 278,000 ha of land will benefit from drainage, and 4,000 ha will be developed under the minor irrigation program as a result of this project.
It is estimated that 29 % of the surface area of the country and 52 % of agricultural land is affected by poor drainage. The correction of defective drainage would result in crop yield -- especially field crops - increases of between 20% and 30%.

In addition, it is estimated that some 1.57 million ha, especially in areas adjacent to the large flood plain rivers, are subject to flooding. Crop loss due to flooding ranges from marginal to complete. Without attention to these flood protection facilities, additional investments in irrigation and drainage improvements in the areas prone to flooding would be useless.

Previously, little attention was given to minor irrigation by small farmers, especially in the hilly areas of Central and Southern Serbia. This project represents a first step toward analysis, support, and development of irrigation in these areas.

The Irrigation and Drainage Rehabilitation Project has three main components:

The Rehabilitation and Improvement of Drainage and Flood Control Infrastructure will include work on the rehabilitation of drainage facilities, including pumps and maintenance equipment; and the rehabilitation of flood control defenses.

The Minor Irrigation Development Program will support the development and/or rehabilitation and improvement of minor irrigation schemes, mainly in the hilly regions of Central and Southern Serbia.

Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building will support strengthening the institutional capacity of water sector institutions.

Since Serbia and Montenegro rejoined the World Bank in 2001, commitments to the country total US$680 for 29 operations.

Contact:

Belgrade
Vesna Kostic (381 11) 302-3723
vkostic@worldbank.org