In the wake of the prevalent disaster situation engulfing the country with floods and landslides, and resultant issues pertaining to the provision of clean water to denizens in affected areas, the Government revealed that approximately 46% of the water supplied was lost owing to unidentified leakages, which also amounted to a revenue loss to the State.
The Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply pointed out that the loss owing to unaccounted leakages was due to old, even ancient five-inch galvanized iron pipes and pipelines installed in the water providing system currently in place in Colombo. Further addressing the intention of the Government to reduce non-revenue water, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle added that they were unable to recover these monetary losses as they were incapable of finding out where the leakages are or have occurred. The latter is due to a complicated system of pipes and pipelines, she noted.
Dr. Fernandopulle explained that the Government was planning on modernizing the water providing system in Colombo.
Of the Ministerial development activities in the pipeline, according to the State Minister, there are several large scale water projects that the Ministry is scheduled to implement. These include the Gampaha, Attanagalla and Minuwangoda Integrated Water Supply Scheme project, the Katana water supply project, which is expected to be implemented within two to three months and will provide water to 45 grama niladhari divisions in the area, and the Kelani Right Bank Water Supply Project’s Phase Two which will upgrade the water provision systems in Wattala, Ja-Ela and Katana and those providing water to the Bandaranaike International Airport,Katunayake, and the Board of Investment zone.
“Formerly, these water projects were designed to provide water to a limited population. However, with rapid urbanization, the demand for water has rapidly risen, and thus there is an increased requirement for water. Currently, roads are being expanded and therefore, the water pipeline system must be upgraded,” she further said.
Meanwhile, on the question of providing disaster victims with uncontaminated water, the State Minister also noted that they were currently distributing water via bowsers and were in the process of mobilizing teams to clear up the wells in the areas which have been flooded with dirty water. This contaminated water carries the risk of water borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
“The water must be collected utilizing machines and then the wells must be chlorinated. We have to clear up houses, schools, temples and churches,” Dr. Fernandopulle maintained.