The first phase of the loan will reduce the city’s vulnerability to flooding through improvements to its drainage system and the implementation of a risk management programme to be executed over a period of six years.

‘This programme supports the city’s efforts to overcome shortcomings in flood risk management and thus improve the living conditions of vulnerable and poor people. It will also increase productivity and competitiveness in the heart of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Country Director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. “Only last week the city was heavily hit and human life was lost when more than 31mm of rain fell in only three hours. Drains were clogged and flash floods occurred in several neighbourhoods, underlining the urgency of providing long awaited solutions to the affected areas.’

The Urban Flood Prevention and Drainage Project Adaptable Programme Loan phase one will focus on flood risk identification and reduction through prevention, mitigation, and education. To achieve this, the project will support the following activities:

• Develop key flood protection facilities, including the construction of two collection tunnels (9.9km and 4.7km long) to improve the functioning of the existing draining system in the Maldonado Basin. In addition, this component includes the extension and improvement of 46km of pipes on the existing secondary drainage network.

• Assist the city government in promoting a risk management approach to dealing with floods, including prevention, mitigation and response. This component will support proposed legal and regulatory framework adjustments, such as land use plans, building codes and environmental standards; the installation of a hydro-meteorological warning system; and the preparation and dissemination of contingency and emergency plans, among others.

The fixed-spread US$130M adaptable programme loan is repayable in 15 years, with a grace period of 5 years. The total project cost is US$209M, including counterpart financing from the City of Buenos Aires of US$79M.

The Bank’s investment lending support for this programme will be through a two-phase Adaptable Programme Loan. The first phase, supported by this loan, will develop a risk management framework program for the City of Buenos Aires. The second phase will develop a risk management program for the six provinces – Chaco, Corrientes, Misiones, Santa Fe, Formosa and Entre Rios – which are. most vulnerable to flooding.