Turkey completes water project ahead of schedule

The build phase of the $900M Izmit Water Supply Project - Turkey's first ever water BOT scheme - has been finished five months ahead of schedule, and the project will now go into commercial operation in January 1999.

Thames Water will operate and maintain the new system as part of a 15-year BOT contract before handing it back to the local municipality free of charge.

The project – which consists of a 400m wide dam, a 480Ml/d WTW designed and supplied by Thames Water and Paterson Candy, a 100km long distribution main and two major pumping stations – will supply drinking water to the city of Izmit in north-west Turkey and to local industry in the surrounding Koceali province.

When water is put into public supply, approximately 50% will be used by the local population of 1.2M and the remaining 50% by industry.

The Greater Municipality of Izmit awarded the project to Izmit Su, a Turkish-registered jv company owned by Thames Water, local companies Gama Endüstri and Güris Insaat, and Mitsui and Sumitomo of Japan. Izmit Su has paid in capital of $135M secured by a further $765M of foreign loans.

Thames Water chief executive, Bill Alexander said that debt and interest on debt would be paid off 11 years into the 15-year contract leaving four years worth of returns for equity holders.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony last month, Turkish President, Süleyman Demirel said that the project would ensure the survival of the Koceali industrial zone in the next century. President Demirel also said that Turkey needed more projects like Izmit to develop at a faster pace. Izmit Su is currently the third biggest investment in the country.

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