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Sunday, 2 September 2012





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Mega water projects get off the ground

Unnichchai Water intake
Unnichchai Water Tower, Batticaloa

Water Supply schemes estimated to cost billion of rupees to provide potable water to the people are being implemented islandwide, said National Water Supply and Drainage Board Chairman (NWSDB) Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi.

Water is an essential commodity for human life and providing drinkable water to the people is a priority of any Government, he said.

The Sunday Observer interviewed the NWSDB Chairman on his ongoing projects.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q: It was reported that scientific studies have identified contaminated water to be the probable cause for the fast spreading kidney decease in the North Central Province (NCP) and Uva Province.

Does the NWSDB have the wherewith all to ensure purified drinking water to said provinces?

A: Major water supply projects and other small scale and village based water supply projects have been designed to meet this need.

Q: What are the major water supply projects in the NCP?

Unnichchai Water Tower, Batticaloa NWSDB Chairman Karunasena

A: There are 12 water supply projects such as Anuradhapura South, Anuradhapura North, Mahavilachchiya, Padaviya, Galenbindunuweva, Tambuttegama, Parasangahaweva, Viharapalugama, Eppawela, Welikanda and Habarana. The Anuradhapura project estimated at Rs. 12,725 million will benefit 139,500 people, while the Anuradhapura North project costing Rs. 10,462 million will benefit 271,525 people.

Other water supply projects estimated at over Rs. 17,517 million will provide drinking water for 557,163 beneficiaries.

Water from the sources such as Mahakandarava, Wahalkada, Mahavilachchiya, Padaviya, Hurulu, Tabuttegama, Taruwila, Dalukana, Tisaweva and Hiriwadunne tanks will be supplied to the people through a distribution network.

Q: What are the organisations which have funded the water supply projects?

A: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already agreed to finance the Anuradhapura North water supply project. A JICA team of specialists is in the island at present. China, Australia and India had already expressed their willingness to finance the Anuradhapura South water supply project.

Q: What were the water supply projects launched to mark Dayata Kirula held in Anuradhapura last year?

A: The water supply scheme at Oyamaduwa Deyata Kirula exhibition ground costing Rs. 600 million provides drinking water to 60,000 families. Another water supply scheme was implemented in the Anuradhapura district at a cost of Rs. 2,000 million.

Q: What are the rural water supply projects launched by the board?

A: Community water tanks in remote villages supply water to the needy. Secondary towns and community village water supply project is another water supply project funded by the Asian Development Bank to ensure potable water to the country. Eighty three small scale pipe-borne water supply projects, 1,718 water tanks, 1,456 wells were provided to the villages in the Anuradhapura district under this project.

Q: What are the water supply schemes launched in the Eastern province?

A: The Muttur Water Tower project benefits 52,000 people in the Muttur district. In addition to the Trincomalee integrated water project funded by the French-Sri Lanka Fund there are medium and small water supply projects implemented at Kantale, Agbopura, Tampalakamam Serunuwera, Wadinagala and Dehiattakandiya at a total cost of Rs. 1,886 million.

The Batticaloa project estimated at Rs. 12,398 million will benefit 246,000 people. A water refinery plant with the capacity of of 40,000 litres per day, a water pumping line and seven water tanks, two underground water tanks and water distributing network covering an area of 277 kilometres constructed under the Batticaloa water supply project. The project will be completed before the end of this year.

Q: Can you explain the water purification system?

A: Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, materials and biological contaminants from raw water to produce water fit for a specific purpose. Most water is purified for human consumption but water purification may also be designed for a variety of other purposes, including meeting the requirements of medical pharmacology, chemical and industrial applications. In general the methods used include physical process such as aeration, filtration and sedimentation, biological processes such as slow sand filters or activated sludge, chemical process such as flocculation and chlorination and the use of electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet light .

Q: Can rain water be used for drinking and domestic purposes?

A: Rain Water Harvesting Systems (RWHS) for households have been promoted as an alternative.

Over 20,000 rain water harvesting tanks were built specially in the dry zone during the past five years.

The Government Organisations, the Non-government Organisations, community-based organisations and the individuals have been persuaded to set up RWHS systems to overcome the anticipated decline of rainfall in the dry zone.

Q: Environmentalists have warned of global scarecity of water in future. What is your views on it?

A: Fresh water is no longer freely available in the planet due to population growth, economic development, rapid urbanisation, large scale industrialisation, deforestation and global warming.

In Sri Lanka water sources are on the wane due to man-made disasters.

Sri Lankans are advised to consume only pipe-borne purified water to avoid the risk of water borne diseases .



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