Peru planning to invest $50B in water, infrastructure

(SOURCE: BN americas) - Peru's government aims to tap capital markets to help finance US$50bn in potable water, sewerage and other social infrastructure projects over the next five years, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said.

The government is working on an "organized infrastructure plan" to integrate the country that includes highways, railways, ports and airports, Kuczynski said in a statement on the presidential website.

"I want to carry out a social revolution with water, education and health services," Kuczynski said in a speech at Princeton University during a trip to the US that included a meeting with President Donald Trump and UN Secretary General António Guterres. "We have to distribute public services and income better. There's a great deal of imbalance and poor-quality public services. That's changing."

Kuczynski, who took office in July, has pledged to eliminate all bureaucratic obstacles to US$25bn in delayed infrastructure investment, including 170 potable water and sewerage projects. He has also announced plans to install connections for water services for 100% of the population by 2023.

The government, which set a 4.20bn-sol (US$1.24bn) water budget for this year, aims to extend potable water and sewerage services this year to an additional 800,000 Peruvians, housing and construction minister Edmer Trujillo said.

Trujillo added the government is putting the finishing touches to a 2017-21 national potable water and sewerage plan, including projects in 35 rural towns and water treatment plants in Tacna, San Martín and Piura regions.

"We're talking about many projects that may not be very big, but which will change people's lives," Trujillo told state news agency Andina.

FLOODING

Meanwhile, torrential rains forced authorities to close the central Andean highway after flooding damaged roads, buildings and more than 1,500 irrigation canals, the transport and communications ministry said in a statement.

The government plans to allocate 5bn soles to rebuild infrastructure, such as roads, damaged by flooding and landslides. Twenty-five people have died because of heavy rains this year and homes have been destroyed.

North coastal regions such as Piura have registered the heaviest rainfall in 30 years, according to the government's national emergency operations center.

The Andean region is recovering from the effects of the La Niña phenomenon, where cooler ocean temperatures cause drought in the highlands. The delayed rain season has already caused widespread flooding in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina this year.

Jared Snow