UK water engineer Biwater has won a $1.2 billion contract from Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Iraq, to deliver new and upgrade water projects in the region.

The project is underpinned by a $34.8 million loan facility from UK Export Finance to KRG, covering up to 12 months’ development work, including all relevant site surveys, social and environmental impact assessments, and detailed designs.

Biwater’s contract covers a 600,000 m3/d capacity water treatment plant at Erbil, fed by the Greater Zab River, to provide drinking water to the city; and at Sulaimani, new wastewater treatment works and sludge treatment facilities, and an upgrade to existing water treatment plant Dukan 1.

The Erbil works also include new water storage reservoirs for 320,000 m3, dual transmission mains, pump stations, and two ring mains.

“We have delivered many large, global water projects, including turnkey solutions throughout the Middle East. This contract is a landmark in providing technological and financial solutions to address the complex, water-related challenges of this region,” said Biwater chairman, Adrian White.

“We hope that this initial loan will pave the way to attracting finance for the next stage of this important project,” added Kurdistan’s prime minister, Nechervan Barzani.