Argentina looks for $9.5bn in water infra financing

The government has turned to the private sector to back 38 projects in drinking water, sanitation, dams and irrigation.

Argentina’s government is seeking private sector partners to help finance 38 water projects totalling $9.5 billion.

The projects will span drinking water, sanitation, dams and irrigation throughout the country, with public-private partnerships considered, as well as contracts with deferred payments or service concessions. The government’s turn towards the private sector comes as the works considered “demand investments that exceed the annual resources available”, the interior ministry said in Thursday’s announcement.

The projects, according to Undersecretary of Water Resources Pablo Bereciartua, “were approved by the [local] governors, are technically feasible” and “may have real interest for the private sector”.

Argentina’s call for private partners comes under the country’s national water plan, which aims to give all Argentinians access to clean drinking water while expanding sanitation coverage to 75 percent of residents. The national water plan called for PPPs to play a role in expanding water access.

Firms have until 15 December to respond to the government’s proposal.

Under President Mauricio Macri, Argentina has sought to rebuild its infrastructure with help from the private sector. Last year, the government passed PPP legislation which aimed to improve investment opportunities by increasing transparency and providing a clear framework. The legislation looked towards the country’s transportation and energy sectors, in which Macri sought $70 billion in investment.