Regional approach to water collection, treatment and supply

A major EU-funded project is underway to develop a network of cleaner drinking water stations covering some 65 municipalities in Hungary. This regional water system paves the way for safer drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents with benefits to the local environment.

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Access to clean water is a basic human right, according to the United Nations, and it is critical to improving living standards worldwide. The average person needs at least 20 to 50 litres of clean, safe water a day for drinking, cooking and keeping clean. Water that is tainted with chemicals, impurities or disease-carrying bacteria is not just dirty – it is dangerous to human and animal health. The municipalities concerned are connected to the water supply system; however the quality of water is currently not in line with Council Directive 98/83/EC intended for human consumption. Arsenic, manganese, iron, boron and ammonium values will improve.

The fundamental importance of clean water in raising health and living standards is reflected in the EU decision to fund a major project to improve drinking water in Békés County in the eastern part of Hungary. The scale of this regional project – supplying around 300 000 inhabitants with healthy drinking water – calls for a significant investment by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund. 

Meeting EU standards

The EU’s Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said this major project “shows how regional policy contributes to improving people’s lives, while protecting the environment and encouraging the sensitive and sustainable development of a regional system”.

Apart from the health and societal benefits of cleaner, safer water, this project is expected to create 225 jobs during, and a further 10 jobs after its implementation. 

Some features of the regional system

The development of a regional drinking water system covers some 65 settlements and relies on eight water base stations in four existing sites which are scheduled for upgrades or reconstruction (Lőkösháza-Kevermes, Medgyesbodzás, Csanádapáca and Újkígyós) and two new water facilities in Kunágota and Kaszaper. 

Improvements to the network include the construction of 396 km of new water lines, 422 new household connections and 8 327 upgrades to existing connections. The project also funds construction, refurbishment and decommissioning of wells in the region, ultimately adding 9 000 m3 of water to the existing 6 500 m3 storage capacity. 

Water treatment technologies need to be completed at three sites (Lőkösháza-Kevermes, Csanádapáca, Újkígyós), with a new treatment plus degasification facility planned for Kaszaper and purification unit for Geszt. The project also foresees, among other actions, the renewal or deployment of seven pumping stations; five in the Mid-Békés and two in the Orosháza regions.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Drinking Water Quality Improvement Programme of Békés County” is EUR 129 854 469, with the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 98 199 531 through the “Healthy and Clean Settlements” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date