WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014 – The World Bank today approved additional financing of US$83 million to help Sri Lanka improve dam safety to achieve its long-term development needs of irrigation and water resource management as national priorities.
Availability of water for irrigation, access to quality drinking water and electricity generation are crucial for a rising agrarian economy and sustainable livelihood development. Therefore rehabilitation of dams plays an important role, especially considering the recent floods and droughts that have impacted the economy.
“Considering that water is a key natural resource that has to be managed efficiently, we are pleased that we are able to provide assistance towards the improvement of the safety of dams” said Françoise Clottes, Country Director Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “The country is now in a position to boost economic growth and achieve equitable and sustainable human development for which the availability of water is one important requirement” she added.
The dam network in Sri Lanka comprises over 350 large and medium dams. Many of these dams are aging and have various structural deficiencies and short comings in operation and monitoring facilities. The ongoing Dam Safety and Water Resources Planning project is supporting the government in strengthening 32 high risk dams. The additional finance that has been approved will continue the rehabilitation of these dams.
"This will finance the completion of 14 dams under the original project and add 30 dams for dam safety improvement, including rehabilitation and modernization of dams in parts of the east and north of the country that could not be included in the original project.” said Joop Stoutjesdijk, Lead Engineer and Task Team Leader of the project.
Considering the urgent need to continue the successful project activities, additional financing was the quickest and logical way to provide the needed funds.