COLOMBO – The Government of Sri Lanka and the World Bank recently signed a $40 million additional financing for the ongoing Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project (WaSSIP), to increase access to the piped water services and improved sanitation. This additional financing will expand water supply, sanitation, and hygiene services in seven districts, reaching more than one million people.
Sajith Atygalle, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, virtually signed on behalf of the government and Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka, signed on behalf of the World Bank.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the urgent need for safe water and sanitation facilities in every home,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country director of Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “The WaSSIP has demonstrated that community-operated water supply schemes can deliver strong and sustainable results, and this additional financing will help expand coverage of water and sanitation schemes to reach many more households.”
The project aims to increase the coverage of piped water by constructing new urban, rural and estate water supply schemes and rehabilitating existing schemes to provide households with a continuous supply of safe water. The project operates in Kegalle, Rathnapura, Monaragala, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. Under this additional financing, septage treatment plants are planned in two additional districts – Galle and Kurunegala.
“We are extremely happy with the on-going WASSIP and its impact on the local community,” said Hon. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of Water Supply. “The additional financing will help accelerate the government’s “Water for All” pledge to cover 4.7 million people within the next four years.”
The project will continue to strengthen community-based organizations (CBO) in rural and estate areas and aims to establish a strong federation of CBOs to operate and maintain the water supply services. The project includes specific actions to promote women’s participation and decision-making in CBOs such as skills development to strengthen women’s capacity to take on leadership roles and enhance women’s voice through mentorship from female leaders.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Water Supply. The World Bank support of $40 million builds on the existing WASSIP project of $165 million.
There are 18 active projects in the World Bank’s portfolio in Sri Lanka amounting to $2.3 billion in a variety of sectors including transport, urban, water, education, and health.