The United States Embassy’s Dr. Andrew Sisson, USAID Mission Director, joined State Minister Hon. Sudharshini Fernandopulle and MEP leader Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena last week on January 5 to launch an approximately Rs. 150 million ($1 million) program to provide safe disaster-resilient drinking water to local communities in Sri Lanka. This program expands upon several previous USAID projects since 2012 that have provided sustainable access to drinking water to those areas in the South, East and North prone to droughts and floods.
“The United States is committed to helping all Sri Lankan families have access to reliable sources of clean drinking water,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap.
The project’s scope includes building rainwater harvesting tanks, providing pipe-borne drinking water facilities, and renovating local infrastructure to reduce the effects of floods and droughts. Locations of rainwater harvesting tanks will be prioritized for families and hospitals affected by the rising challenge of chronic kidney diseases (CKD) in this country, supporting the efforts of President Sirisena and the government of Sri Lanka to address this critical health concern.
In addition, the program will support national and regional-level policies to minimize the impact of such disasters, while helping local communities adopt sustainable solutions for disaster-related water and hygiene needs. In total, over 100,000 people are expected to benefit directly from this project.
“I also take this opportunity to thank USAID for the excellent support provided to Sri Lanka in promoting rainwater harvesting and improving new technologies,” said State Minister for City Planning and Water Supply Sudharshini Fernandopulle at the launch ceremony.
USAID is again partnering with Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum (LRWHF), a local organization with 20 years of experience introducing simple and inexpensive options for safe, potable water. This new project will target communities in the North, East, and Uva province exposed to frequent natural disasters. Palm Foundation will provide communities in the Eastern province with pipe water, rainwater harvesting tanks, and local training.
Since 1956, the U.S. Government and USAID have worked in Sri Lanka to improve the lives of Sri Lankans, investing over $2 billion in agricultural and business development, education, health, energy and natural resources, good governance, and humanitarian assistance.