Sri Lanka has made great strides in water supply and sanitation sector achieving the Millennium Development Goals by increasing access to improved drinking water and sanitation to 95 and 96 percent of the population respectively. The next challenge for Sri Lanka is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with the provision of treated piped water and extension of safely managed sanitation at the household levels. Ensuring sustainability means that there needs to be sufficient money to operate the system and do maintenance of the infrastructure and equipment as soon as something goes wrong. The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the need to have safe drinking water, good clean sanitation facilities, and for people to practice good hygiene behaviors at all times.
WaSSIP is the third project financed by the World Bank since 1998 to provide drinking water and sanitation. The project finances new water supply systems, rehabilitation of existing water supply systems, toilets for households and schools, and septage treatment plants. To ensure sustainability, local Community Based Organizations are trained to operate and maintain the system. Each household agrees to pay a tariff that ensures that operation, maintenance and replacement costs can be covered. A database was developed that shows all the rural water supply systems in the country. This database will be used by the Department of National Community Water Supply to monitor all the Community Based Organizations in the country and provide them with the support that they need. The project invests in the government institutions like the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, the Department of National Community Water Supply and the Plantation Human Development Trust to ensure the sustainability of the infrastructure into the future. A Sector Investment Plan was developed to be the road map for all future investments in water supply and sanitation to achieve Sustainable Development Goals for the country.