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5th International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
"Rainwater Catchment for Future Generations"
Keelung, Taiwan, R.O.C. - August 1991

Section 10: Country Reports and Future Outlooks

Page 607

Rain Water Cisterns - A New Approach To Supplement The Rural Water Supply System In Sri Lanka

Rajindra De Silva Ariyabandu
Agrarian Research. and Training Institute, Sri Lanka:


The envisaged target for the IDWSS decade in Sri Lanka was to construct 16,000 tube wells to provide adequate safe drinking water for the rural population. However, due to the unsettled situation in the country coupled with lack of funding have resulted in a shortfall of 4000 tube wells by the end of the decade. It is.hoped that the target could be achieved by 1995 if funding is granted by the Government of Sri Lanka and International donors to cover the spiralling cost.of constructing tube wells.

This paper proposes a novel approach to supplement the shortfall in the tube well programme by introducing rainwater catchment through roof run-off. Having an annual rainfall of more than 1000mm in the dry zone, Sri Lanka's potential for success in this approach seems positive. This approach, if proves to be a success would. save time of the peasants otherwise used in fetching drinking Water. from distant places. The time thus saved could be utilized , in .more productive occupations like paddy coutivation or animal husbandry. Collection of rain water.will be either in jars (2-3m3) or in small tanks. which ever the cheapest and preferable in the area. Approximately, it is estimated that cost of a jar of 2m3 is 3% of the cost of constructing a tube wall. At the existing cost estimates even if the. state gives a jar free of cost to every beneficiary household in a tube well community, the state can save upto 30%.of cost of constructing: a tube well. With a drinking-water requirement of 5 liters per day per person a jar can supply drinking: water for 60 days for a family of five. With an additional jar a family can store sufficient drinking water for almost half the year. " The implementation of the project will seriously take note of the social aspects of drinking water specially from roof run-off. Project anticipates. to conduct classes to women in the community. to educate them and eliminate any myth about' drinking water off roof catchments and having, safe drinking water.

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