June 29, 2015 (LBO) - The World Bank Board has approved a 165 million US dollars credit for Sri Lanka to increase access to piped water services and improved sanitation in the Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Monoregala, Kegalle and Ratnapura Districts. The bank says around 450,000 people are expected to benefit under the project, contributing to the Government’s national target of increasing piped water coverage from the current 45 percent to 60 percent by 2020.
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“Access to safe drinking water is critical to health outcomes, especially for vulnerable populations” Françoise Clottes, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said in a media release.
"The World Bank is happy to further support the sustained achievements in the water sector and to join the Government and other stakeholders in efforts to improve access to and delivery of this vital commodity,”
The Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project aims to reduce time spent collecting water, freeing it up for more productive uses while reducing the susceptibility of vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, to health risks posed by water-borne and sanitation related diseases.
“The project will support infrastructure development in lagging regions and the estate sector where access to water supply and sanitation services is lower and the poverty level is higher compared to the national average”, said Shideh Hadian, Task Team Leader of the project.
The project plans to address the long term sustainability of water supply schemes managed by Community-Based Organizations, by strengthening institutions involved in service delivery in the rural and estate sectors.
Sri Lanka faces the challenge of a new disease, known as CKDu (Chronic Kidney Disease of uncertain etiology) and the communities where CKDu incidence is high will also benefit from improved access to safe drinking water.
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The credit will come form the International Development Association (IDA), the concessionary lending arm of World Bank with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.