A U.S. bank has authorized a 12-year direct loan to Sri Lanka to finance a water supply system by Tetra Tech
For the first time since 2008, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized a sovereign transaction—a $64.9 million, 12-year direct loan—to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to finance the design and construction of the Badulla, Haliela and Ella Integrated Water Supply System by Tetra Tech of Pasadena, Calif.
The transaction will support approximately 400 American jobs, according to U.S. government estimates, including those at Tetra Tech’s design centers across the United States, particularly in Denver and Longmont, Colo.; Morris Plains, N. J.; Langhorne, Pa.; and Fairfax, Va.
The water supply project will integrate new and rehabilitated treatment plants, storage tanks, pumping stations, a new dam and impoundment reservoir, new and existing water intake structures, nearly 50 km of transmission pipeline and more than 100 km of distribution pipeline. Once in place, the water-supply system will help the government of Sri Lanka to realize its objective of providing safe drinking water to 85% of the population, in line with the United Nations Millennium Development goals.
“Not only does this transaction stimulate U.S. job creation, but it also contributes directly to the quality of life in Sri Lanka,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “This project will bring potable water to thousands of those who need it, and that is a success.”
According to Sri Lankan government estimates in 2009, 79.5% of the population had access to water supplies, but only 37.5% of the population, or 8.06 million people, could access potable water through pipe-borne systems. In some regions, it was estimated that more than 80% of the water supply was contaminated. Much of the contamination was attributed to agrichemical runoff and saltwater intrusion, the latter of which resulted from the 2004 tsunami when four tidal waves inundated part of the island’s freshwater aquifer and well network with seawater.
The bank’s Environmental Export Program includes support for U.S. goods and services to international water projects, and its enhanced financing includes repayment terms up to 18 years. Ex-Im Bank’s financing has supported the sale of approximately $270 million in water-related exports since FY 2009.