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10th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater International 2001"
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001

Section 5: Legal and Political Aspects of Rainwater Harvesting

Paper 5.9

Development of Rainwater Harvesting Projects in Sri Lanka

Tanuja Ariyananda
Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum
No. 247, Wijekumaratunge Mawatha
Colombo 5
Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka has a average annual rainfall of 2400 mm with a range of 900mm in the dry zone and 5000 mm in the wet zone. The rainfall is bi-monsoonal and varies both seasonally and spatially. In the dry zone more than two thirds of the rain falls during the wet season (NE monsoon) from October to March, of which 70% falls during the period October to December. The large variation in rainfall leads to spatial and seasonal variation in water supply. In the wet zone even though the rainfall pattern is fairly even, the terrain is hilly and rain runoff is high. Concentration of rainfall during a specific period in different zones causes water shortages during months of low rainfall.

Sri Lanka has used rainwater for both domestic and agricultural use for many centuries. Traditionally rainwater is collected for domestic use from tree trunks using banana or coconut leafs or from rooftops into barrels, domestic containers and small brick tanks. In recent years we have seen a revival of rainwater harvesting and much research was conducted to improve the technology. In 1995, the Community Water Supply and Sanitation project initiated by the government of Sri Lanka with World Bank funds introduced rain water harvesting as a water supply option in the two districts Badulla and Matara. Since then, government and non-government organizations throughout the country have promoted this technology.

The Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum network organization linking the technologies with the stakeholders has been successful promoting the concept as well as the technology in other parts of the country and to government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

PDF of full document (4pp, 31kb)

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