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World Bank lends USD 69 million to improve dams and irrigation schemes

Sri Lanka has signed an agreement l to borrow 69.53 million US dollars from the World Bank to improve dams and irrigation schemes and preserve watershed with a focus on the Upper Mahaweli River in the central hills.

“Effective management of water resources is critical to Sri Lanka’s long-term economic prosperity,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka said in a statement.

“Sri Lanka is blessed with both natural and manmade water resources and protecting its watersheds will help the country adapt to climate change and reduce climate-induced risks on people and their livelihoods.”

The project will benefit 356,000 farming families and will cover 165,000 hectares of farmland.

“The project combines evidenced-based planning with investments in watershed management, dam safety inspection practices and dam risk assessments,” the World Bank said.

“The rehabilitation of irrigation systems will benefit from extensive stakeholder consultation and key project interventions will promote the participation of youth and women to ensure they are supported by the project.”

Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa was quoted as saying that the government was committed to conserve watersheds.

The USD 69 million credit will come from the World Bank’s concessionary International Development Association. Project preparation activities will be supported by the Korea-World Bank Group Partnership Facility.

The World Bank said it was working on USD 2.3 billion of projects in Sri Lanka in transportation, urban, water, education and health sectors.

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