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Sri Lanka should retain flood waters, not pump them out

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should make an effort to retain water from floods whose incidence is increasing, like in other countries, and not pump them out, a construction industry official said.

Surath Wickremasinghe, President  of the Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka, said flooding happens twice a year now and little is being done by governments to rectify the problem.

“The easiest solution to the flood problem as adopted by many parts of Sri Lanka is to pump the water out,” he told a forum on disaster risk reduction.

“Other countries have different solutions. They try to retain flood waters as much as possible in underground reservoirs and tanks, like in Malaysia and Singapore,” Wickremasinghe said. “But Sri Lanka is not looking at it that way.”

Wickremasinghe said there might be concerns about whether enough land was available for the purpose since the island was small.

“Actually low lying areas can be used,” he told the international symposium on why investing in disaster risk reduction matters for business organised by the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD SL).

It is possible to build water retention systems underground, as other countries have done, Wickremesinghe said.

“And then you can build above it, with car parks on top and accommodation on top of that.”

And it would cost the country only  fraction of the cost of disasters to relocate people living in flood prone areas, he added.
(COLOMBO, Nov 07, 2016)