Rehabilitating and expanding the drinking-water treatment plant

VINCI Construction Grands Projets was mandated by Sri Lanka’s national agency for drinking water and sanitation to rehabilitate and expand the drinking-water treatment plant in Kantale. The project calls for the construction of a new 1,500-cubic-metre raw water storage tank, new water-treatment capacity equal to 18,000 cubic metres a day, and a new 1,500-cubic-metre tank to store treated water. The project also covers the rehabilitation of all structures and buildings in the existing plant, including replacing process, electromagnetic, and electrical equipment. Also included in this project are the development of two water intakes and raw-water pumping stations and supply and installation of the equipment for the treated-water pumping station. Finally, the project also covers automation of the treatment plant and pumping stations and supervision of the drinking-water distribution system as a whole for the region of Trincomalee.


Thirty years after the launch of the water treatment plant in Kantale, VINCI Construction Grands Projets came back to Sri Lanka to rehabilitate and expand the very same treatment plant.
In a country beset with civil war and natural disasters (particularly, the 2004 tsunami), the infrastructure has deteriorated and become inadequate.
Sri Lanka’s national agency for drinking water and sanitation, with support from the French finance ministry and the French development agency, asked us to undertake a vast project to upgrade an existing structure and increase production and distribution of water in the region.


Meticulous scheduling was required on this project so as to maintain existing services: we had to design, build, equip, and implement the new water treatment system before we could shut down the existing system for rehabilitation.
Accordingly, water shut-off had to be minimised both in terms of frequency and duration (no more than 24 hours at a time). This resulted in complex scheduling, in particular for the rehabilitation of pumping stations (removal of existing pumps and installation of new ones) and electrical systems. The rehabilitation of certain structures also required the implementation of complex temporary bypass and insulation systems (including, for example, cofferdams).
All equipment had to be tested and operated manually prior to the treatment plant’s shift to automatic mode.
Since project funding came from France, we had an obligation to favour plant supplies and equipment from France. This made for complex logistics, especially since the worksite was located seven hours from the capital city, Colombo. All equipment and material imports had to pass through the port of Colombo, then sent on by road. On average, equipment imports from France took two months to reach the worksite.
Finally, certain earthworks and concreting operations were made more challenging by the strong monsoons of 2010 and 2011.

Access to water and sanitation is a major health and environmental issue and a key to reducing poverty worldwide. That is why improving water supply in developing countries is a priority.


The main objective of this rehabilitation project was to provide drinking water to the region of Trincomalee (and its 300,000 inhabitants) on the northwest coast of Sri Lanka.
Thanks to this project, the Kantale treatment plant saw its drinking-water production capacity increase by 50% in May 2012, rising from 36,000 cubic metres a day to 55,000 cubic metres a day.
This project was designed not only to provide urban and rural populations in the region with access to water, but to strengthen local structures’ capacity to preserve and manage water resources.
At project end, 300,000 people benefit from better access to water as well as better water quality, thereby contributing directly to improved health and favouring the region’s human and economic development.


Project participants

National Water Supply and Drainage Board

Project management
National Water Supply and Drainage Board, assisted by Société du Canal de Provence (SCP)

Key figures

Implementation dates
November 2010 to August 2013

Concrete: 2,000 m3
Steel: 130 t
Excavation: 1,500 m3

Pumps: Four 400-kW vertical pumps (flow = 170 l/s; total manometric head = 139 mCE), Three 160-kW vertical pumps (flow = 211 l/s; total manometric head = 46 mCE), Three 630-kW horizontal pumps (flow = 350 l/s; total manometric head = 108 mCE)

Campo Dell’Oro Water Treatment Plant