Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday opened South Asia’s first underwater tunnel aquarium at Water World, Biyagama.
Built on a 47-foot long concrete platform at a cost of Rs.60 million, this tunnel is 30 feet long and 37 feet wide. The Japan-manufactured glass covering used for the purpose is three inches thick. The raw material required for the construction was obtained from Canada and Thailand, while the US and New Zealand provided technical know-how. Singapore and Taiwan too supplied equipment for the purpose.
Although the construction was done in 13 months, the planning of the tunnel took nearly three years. The fish exhibited in this aquarium have been obtained from Dehiwala, Negombo, Galle, Matara, Trincomalee and Batticaloa. The tunnel holds more than 200,000 litres of sea water and is home to more than 500 fish of many varieties. Up to now, Sri Lankans have been compelled to travel outside Sri Lanka to visit such an underwater tunnel. With the completion of this tunnel, they will have the opportunity of having the same experience here at a little cost.
Water World is the only public aquarium in Sri Lanka, located on a scenic fiveacre property on the banks of the Kelani River.
The unparalleled range of aquatic life includes fresh water, marine and brackish water fauna and flora, from eco systems around the globe. Economic Development Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame, Disaster Management Deputy Minister Dulip Wijesekera, Western Provincial Council Minister Nimal Lansa, Water World Managing Director Darshana de Soysa and Provincial Council and Pradeshiya Sabha members too participated in the tunnel opening ceremony.