Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is lending US$200mn to the Sao Paulo state water utility Sabesp’s Baixada Santista metropolitan region environmental recovery programme.

Along with JBIC’s loan, Sabesp will put up US$100mn which begins in H2 2004 and will directly benefit more than 3mn residents with sewerage works.

Works will include seven large-scale treatment plants, 1,100km of collection network and 125,000 residential connections.

Sabesp is Brazil’s largest water utility in terms of users, serving 323 of Sao Paulo state’s 645 municipalities. The utility provides water to 25mn residents through a 54,000km network and sewerage service to 16.8mn residents through a 34,000km collection network.

The utility’s five-year investment programme calls for investing R550mn-600mn  per year through 2006.