Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is lending 9.2 million euros ($12 million) to Romanian utility Hidroprahova SA to upgrade the water and sewage system in Prahova county in the center of the country.

The loan will add to European Union grants funding a 146 million-euro program to improve the quality of drinking water and sewerage services, the EBRD said today in a statement. Hidroprahova will expand and upgrade networks in eight towns.

Districts across Romania including Buzau, Braila and Maramures are investing in water improvements to bring systems into line with EU norms as aging pipes struggle to cope with higher demand. The work is aimed at cutting water loss, curbing operating costs and expanding supply and waste treatment.

The EBRD also said it may lend as much as 13.6 million euros to utility Cia de Apa Oltenia SA for similar works in Dolj county, southern Romania. The loan would help finance a 150.3 million-euro regional investment program funded by the EU and Romania, the bank said in a statement yesterday. The EBRD board will meet to discuss the loan on May 1.

Romania joined the EU in 2007 along with Bulgaria.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net