The World Bank has approved a US$128 million loan and a $10 million grant to finance the construction of waste-water treatment facilities in Guangzhou. It expects the projects to begin within six months. The bank had expected to lend US$200 million to the Guangdong Pearl River Delta Environment Project, but the Guangdong and Guangzhou governments decided they needed less money, said Thomas Zearley, sector co-ordinator of the bank's urban/environment development sector unit. The funds would cover 50 per cent of the civil works costs and all of the cost of equipment and consulting services, Mr Zearley said. Two civil works projects for the No3 Liede waste-water treatment plant and Dashadi waste-water treatment plant and the supply of equipment for the two plants would be open for international bidding, while the rest of the contracts would be reserved for mainland firms. 'They are already short-listing prospective contractors. We hope to implement the project within six months,' Mr Zearley said. The two civil works contracts are estimated to cost a total of US$18.9 million, with equipment of US$25.8 million. The bulk of the cost is expected to go on resettling local residents and would be borne by the local government. The World Bank said the project would assist Guangdong in implementing its PRD Clean Up campaign, which calls for an investment of 45 billion yuan in waste-water treatment and other environmental facilities over the next eight years. Water quality in the Pearl River and its tributaries in the Guangzhou, Foshan , Dongguan and Shenzhen areas is classified as worse than Class V, which means it is not suitable for irrigation, aquaculture or recreational activities. The water quality is so bad it contributes to serious pollution of the South China Sea and the waters around Hong Kong and Macau. The target of the World Bank-assisted projects was to achieve Class IV standard water quality in five years, Mr Zearley said. Class IV quality means that the river water is fit for general industrial use and recreational activities where there is no direct contact with water.