The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Exim) has extended a US$64.9mn, 12-year loan to the government of Sri Lanka; its first sovereign transaction in four years.

The deal will finance the design and construction of the Badulla, Haliela and Ella integrated water supply system by Californian firm Tetra Tech. The project, integrating new and rehabilitated treatment plants, storage tanks, pumping stations and a new dam and impoundment reservoir, will help the government of Sri Lanka reach its goal of providing safe drinking water to 85% of the population.

US Exim chairman and president Fred Hochberg says: “Not only does this transaction stimulate US job creation, but it also contributes directly to the quality of life in Sri Lanka. This project will bring potable water to thousands of those who need it, and that is a success.”

Tetra Tech chairman and CEO Dan Batrack adds: “This is the first full-scale, design-build water-supply project that US Exim has financed for an international client. This transaction supports high-end technical jobs in the United States and allows us to bring our best water services where they are needed most.”

According to Sri Lankan government estimates in 2009, only 37.5% of the population could access potable water through pipe-borne systems. In some regions, it was estimated that more than 80% of the water supply was contaminated due to the agrichemical runoff and saltwater intrusion that resulted from the 2004 tsunami.