The board of Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional loan of $120m for a project to bring drinking water to urban areas of the Jaffna Peninsula, an area in Northern Province, Sri Lanka.
The ADB had approved an initial assistance of $90m for the Jaffna and Kilinochchi Water Supply Project in November 2010.
The initiative was aimed at supporting the government’s efforts on safe drinking water supply to Jaffna and neighbouring towns after the conflict.
However, the plan to bring water from the Iranamadu Tank (irrigation dam) was hampered as the project faced several challenges.
Experts said that bringing water from a new desalination plant will directly address water scarcity challenges caused by climate change.
The plant will have a daily capacity of 24,000 cubic metres, 700km of water mains and distribution pipes, and 60,000 metered new property connections.
The fund will be also be used for the operation and maintenance of the plant, which will be operated by a single contractor.
The ADB assistance will be used to increase the storage capacity of Iranamadu Tank, which will continue to be an important water resource for Jaffna.
The project will also include long-term water resource management.
Technical assistance of $500,000 will be provided to support capacity development of water sector institutions in Jaffna, which includes managing the contract of the desalination plant, producing sanitation safety plans and conducting community awareness activities.
The project is estimated to cost $266m, including the $120m additional financing, and is expected to be completed by December 2025.
ADB principal urban development specialist Jingmin Huang said: “Through the development and management of a desalination plant, the additional finance will complete ADB’s effort to provide piped water for 300,000 people and eliminate the drudgery of fetching water over long distances that women particularly face.”