A project to free Colombo of floods | Daily News
Ambatale Stormwater Pumping Station:

A project to free Colombo of floods

The Minister addressing the gathering.
The Minister addressing the gathering.

The Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP) implemented under the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry is a development project funded by the World Bank and the Sri Lankan government.

The World Bank is providing a concessionary loan of US$ 213 million to the MCUDP, while Sri Lankan government is investing US$108 million.

The foremost development objective of the MCUDP, which commenced in 2012, is to improve the drainage capacity of the Metro Colombo area, thereby reducing the risk of floods in Colombo city.

In order to implement the identified sub-projects, the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, the Colombo Municipal Council and the Urban Development Authority are working together with the MCUDP.

The MCUDP is implementing a number of sub-projects to protect the Metro Colombo area from being inundated during the rains.

Among many other interventions, there are three stormwater pumping stations implemented under the MCUDP.

The Ambatale Stormwater Pumping Station could protect an area of 21 square kilometres along the Madiwela East Diversion Canal including Talangama, Averihena and the Malabe East areas.

The Madiwela East Diversion Canal is a waterway which starts from the Talangama Tank, crosses Malabe and Kaduwela and finally reaches the Kelani River at its confluence in Ambatale. This canal overflows during rainy seasons, causing floods in the surrounding areas.

Current status

Also, with the existing flood protection gates in Ambatale, the area can be drained only during periods of low water levels in the Kelani River.

During periods of high water levels, with the gates being automatically closed to prevent backflow from the river, the floodwaters continue to inundate the low-lying areas for a prolonged period, causing severe inconvenience to the residents of the area.

The estimated annual expenditure on flood damage in the catchment area of the Madiwela East Diversion Canal is Rs. 462 million.

With the improvements to the canal which are being currently undertaken through the MCUDP and the upcoming stormwater pumpinging station in Ambatale, the expenditure will be reduced to Rs. 137 million. Further, if rainfall with a 50-year return period occurs under the existing conditions, the expected flood damage could go up to as high as Rs. 2,193 million. With the establishment of the Ambatale Storm Water Pumping Station, the cost will reduce to Rs. 711 million, saving Rs.1,482 million.

With this pumping station, the improvements to the canal are currently being undertaken and capacity enhancement of the Talangama Tank has already been completed.

These interventions under the MCUDP will not only control the flooding in the Talangama area, but also in the Parliament Complex.

Megapolis Plan

According to the government’s Megapolis Plan, the area in the vicinity of the Madiwela East Diversion Canal will be developed as a science and technology hub.

To facilitate such initiatives, it is imperative that this area should be made a flood-free zone, which this stormwater pumping station will be instrumental in achieving.

At the same time, the proposed tertiary education cluster in this area will increase the population density and road traffic. Under such a scenario, the Ambatale Stormwater Pumping Station will be helpful in regulating the canal flow and keep the populated areas and roads free from flooding.

Considering all these facts, the need of a Stormwater pumping station in this area was identified.

Consisting of five identical pumpings, the Ambatale Stormwater Pumping Station will be able to pump 20 cubic metres of water per second.

The construction project was ceremoniously inaugurated by Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka on January 25. It is implemented at a cost of Rs. 2,368 million for design, construction and supervision.

The total investment including land acquisition cost is Rs. 2,870 million.

The design and construction works which are expected to be completed within 21 months are being carried out by the Salcon Engineering Berhad of Malaysia, with the supervision and project management consultancy by the SAFEGE of France. Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation is the project implementing agency.

This project is aimed at minimising floods and improving drainage conditions in the Talangama, Averihena and Malabe East drainage basins. This pumping station will complement other megapolis development initiatives such as the Techno City Project and the Light Rail Transit Project.

In addition, it creates the potential for further development of the historically significant Mulleriyawa area into a vibrant residential township with all modern amenities including educational institutes of international standards, making it a key megacity in the megapolis region.

The objective of the Ministry is to plan and develop the Western Province into a mega city, with over eight million people, as a business, communications and logistics hub.

For this purpose, the government will take action to ensure the provision of infrastructure, water, sewerage system, electricity, houses and premises for educational institutions, health services, transport and other essential activities for the people of the province.

Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and UNP MP S.M. Marikkar on the inspection tour.

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