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Speeches & Transcripts August 6, 2019

Speech - Groundbreaking Ceremony of the St. Sebastian South Pumping Station

Honorable Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is an honor to be here this morning at the ground-breaking ceremony of the St. Sebastian South Pumping Station. This has been a project under preparation for many years and marks a long and productive history of the partnership between the Government and the World Bank.

We are excited to support the government in ensuring better infrastructure and environmental services for its citizens. 

Flooding in Colombo is not a new phenomenon, and we have seen its impacts as recently as 2017. This pumping station will be critical to help reduce flooding.

In 2013, the implementation of this project began with a vision to reduce flooding in the catchment of the Colombo water basin. Since then, the project has been financing large and complex flood management investments across the city. A special Project Management Unit, with guidance from the Minister and Secretary, amongst others, has been working tirelessly to carry out activities that will help meet the objectives of the project.  I would like to express my sincere thanks to them.

The team has taken a multi-pronged approach to enable reduction of floods and lessen its negative socio-economic impacts on people. Selected priority canals and drains have been rehabilitated.  Similarly, the project is enhancing flood discharge capacity of the system by constructing new diversion paths through tunneling, open cut channels and flood controlling structures. This process also includes the important step of constructing a pumping station, which is the background of this ceremony today.

The project has already made a lot of headway, the true results and benefits of which will be seen in the days to come.

On this happy occasion, I sign off by also reminding all of us of a sobering truth. As the world grapples with climate change and global warming, as weather patterns turn unpredictable and we cope with more and more natural disasters, the only way forward is to build the resilience of a country and its people.

That is what we aim to do, for which we will continue to proudly partner with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Thank you, and my very best wishes again.