He warned that another threat facing the Colombo city is flooding due to the rise in sea level. He said in this scenario the devastation experienced in Colombo could far exceed the devastation witnessed in the Bandarawela area due to the Uma Oya project.
He had revealed this information during a lecture delivered by him on December 05, 2017 at the Sri Lanka Engineering Institute.
Dr. Karunaratne, an experienced engineer, has gained international repute due to his involvement in many engineering projects including the Semaku Ocean island in Singapore.
According to his research on the Port City and its impacts on the Colombo city, he has identified the Presidential Palace, Investment Board, Navy Headquarters, Bank of Ceylon main branch, Cargills building, Old Parliament building and the Foreign Ministry building as those that could sink due to the port city project.
Dr. Karunaratne pointed out that due to the port city project and the impact caused by filling of the land, the ground water level around the Colombo city could rise and building which do not have deep foundations could come loose and its sustaining power could diminish making them more likely to sink.
Further, due to the reclamation, these areas could have an impact on human settlements and face the threat of becoming unsuitable for human habitat, he said.
He noted that the 421 page feasibility study drafted on the port city, indicates the danger it could cause to the old buildings in the Colombo city, but it does not mention the remedial measures that could be taken.
Therefore, Dr. Karunaratne pointed out that taking into consideration the threats that are before us, measures should be taken right now to mitigate the potential damage that could happen in the future, without waiting for the completion of the port city to address these issues.
This project will reclaim around 269 hectares from the sea and currently around 50% of the proposed land has been reclaimed.