Lanka loses 60 per cent of rain water to sea as run off


(L-R) Acting Director (USAID) Dr. Aleena tansi, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister Dr M.L.A.M.Hizbullah, Secretary to the Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply D. G. M. V. Hapuarachchi and DGM of IWMI Dr.Klaudia sadoff 

Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Dr. M.L.A.M. Hisbullah yesterday (28)  lamented that the country only utilised 40 percent of the water it received from annual rains and the bulk 60 percent was lost to the sea as run off.

Minister Dr. Hisbullah made the observation while speaking as the Chief Guest at the International Conference on Water Protection through Rain Water Collection jointly organized by the Sri Lanka Forum of Rain Water Collectors and the Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Pelawatte.

Dr. Hisbullah said: This International Conference on Water Security through Rainwater Harvesting organiSed by Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum in collaboration with Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply, International Water Management Institute and USAID is very timely as it would provide opportunities for learning from renowned researchers and practitioners on understanding the current state of research and future challenges in Rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater harvesting saves water which otherwise ends up in the sea. It is also a cost saving measure, as water in urban areas has to be paid for. It will also reduce flooding and saves purified water. Rainwater harvesting promotes self-sufficiency and fosters an appreciation for water as a resource. It also promotes water conservation and ground water recharging. Rainwater harvesting also conserves energy as the energy input needed to operate a centralized water system is bypassed. At present we are pumping water from a long distance away, from Ambatale. This cost energy and much water is lost from leakages. Both energy and water can be saved if at least portion of the water needs in a household is collected through Rainwater harvesting at the own premises.

Local erosion and flooding in urban areas during heavy rains is lessened as a portion of local rainfall is diverted into collection tanks.

A large number of people in the NCP, Vavuniya, Kurunegala are affected by a kidney disease. Most of them use water obtained from open wells and tube wells. Using Rainwater at least for drinking is important in these areas affected by the kidney disease. My Ministry is promoting Rainwater harvesting in general and in those areas affected by the kidney disease in particular. It was also found that areas where National Water Supply and Drainage Board is supplying water less incidences of kidney disease are being reported. Therefore, NWS&DB has launched a project to distribute clean drinking & cooking water to families through pipe born water and mobile units (bowser supplies) to some of the affected areas.

I am happy to note that the two- day programme has many International and National presenters. Many countries have progressed immensely adopting Rainwater harvesting practices and Rainwater harvesting is discussed in many of the International Forums as a viable water supply solution.

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