Govt signs USD 150 mn ADB loan for water to dry zone

Sep 17, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government signed a 150 million US dollar loan agreement with the ADB to address the water scarcity in the islands dry zone, the Asian Development Bank said in a statement.

The loan is the first tranche of a 453 million US dollar multi-tranche financing facility to help complete Sri Lanka’s ongoing drive to deliver surplus water from the Mahaweli river basin to its dry zone, it said.

“Lack of year-round access to water resources constrains the agricultural and commercial production of the region, suppressing social and economic development,” said Sri Widowati, ADB’s country director in Sri Lanka.

Widowati signed the loan on behalf of ADB while R.H.S. Samarathunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, signed for the Government of Sri Lanka.

The loan will help to construct 6.2 km of open canals and associated structures of the Upper Elhahera Canal.

It will also help with two new reservoirs namely Mahakitula and Mahakirula along with 27 km open canals linking these reservoirs with the existing Wemedilla reservoir, along with a 940 m tunnel of the North Western Province Canal.

The project, Mahaweli Water Security Investment Program will accelerate the economic activities of Sri Lanka’s northern dry zone region by transferring surplus water of the Mahaweli river basin for irrigation, drinking, and commercial purposes, the statement said.

“It will also develop bulk water conveyance and storage infrastructure planned under the North Central Province Canal Program (NCPCP).”