Pilot Project on Rain Water Harvesting Technology for Urban Households

Project Enhancing the agriculture biodiversity of home gardens as agro-forestry systems in marginal lands of the dry zone villages in Sri Lanka through rainwater harvesting.
Duration 1st November 2002 – 31st December 2004 (24 months)
Funded by German Appropriate Technology Exchange Small-Scale Project Fund
Objectives of the project The project aims to design and introduce low cost integrated rainwater harvesting systems in newly and existing urban households of two income levels that is low and middle income.

Sub Objectives are:
  1. To assess the economic viability/environmental impacts of using rainwater harvesting in urban sector.
  2. To create awareness on rainwater harvesting among the urban community.
  3. To carry out research and development on new technology for urban households/buildings.
  4. To set up a pool of trained masons on constructing rainwater harvesting systems for urban areas.
  5. To create awareness among Architects in order to design low cost tanks.
  6. To recommend a suitable policy to for implementation.

Activities and Results achieved

  1. Literature review and Study: Research study was conducted to review the available rainwater harvesting systems in local & international publications on urban and rural rainwater harvesting systems, Study was conducted to assess the economic viability/ environmental impact of using rain water harvesting in the urban sector in 3 districts (Negambo, Anuradhapura, Kandy).
  2. Competition: Competition was held to gather public innovative idea on rain water harvesting. Fifty six (56) entries were received from students, professionals and individuals.
  3. Research and Development of Technology:
  • Several low cost design for low income households were tested at a slum dwelling near the rail way tract at Udahamulla, Colombo.
  • A survey was conducted to assess the social and economic benefits of the system as well as water quality of the collected rain water harvesting system.

Barrel tanks at Udahamulla, Colombo (2003)

Wooden tanks at Udahamulla, Colombo (2003)

Barrel tanks at Udahamulla, Colombo (2003)

Wooden tanks at Udahamulla, Colombo (2003)

Plastic tanks for urban households, Nugegoda, (2004)

Development a gutter filter: A gutter filter originally manufactured in Europe was modified to suit local conditions by a local PVC company.
Design of RWH System for Commercial/ Institutional Establishments : An engineer from LRWHF is engaged in developing a rain water harvesting system for University of Moratuwa.
Rain water recharging and harvesting system are designed and constructed in Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Matara, Colombo and Kandy.

  1. Awareness and Disseminating the technology: Several awareness programs were held to Commercial companies, Hoteliers, Professional Institutes, Universities and Municipal council officials. Furthermore, information was disseminated through TV programs, exhibitions. Awareness program was held at Sethsiripaya in collaboration with Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply for Industrial and Urban use of rainwater harvesting. Several presentation from Commercial establishments were made.

Exhibition organized by Ministry of Housing, Plantation and Infrastructure Development to celebrate the UN declared World Habitat Day, October 2003

Winning entries as well as designs developed for low-income households in urban sector
  1. Linking and net working with relevant government and non government authorized bodies: Presentation were made to staff of Ministry of Urban Utilities and their partner organizations.
  2. Training programs: Training programs were held in Kandy, Kurunegala (for Anuradhapura) and Colombo for masons on construction of RWH systems.
  3. Disseminate the technologies via symposium: Symposium was held in June 2004 inviting papers from practitioners, researchers, professionals to share their ideas/thoughts/ findings and to promote rain water as an option for domestic water supply in urban areas. Ten papers were presented on a one day program. Dr Sekhar Raghvan, the Director of Rain Center in Chennai, India made a special presentation share experience at the symposium. Minister for Urban Development and Water Supply Honourable Dinesh Gunawardena was invited as the chief guest.

Multidisciplinary symposium held in June 2004 - Hon. Minister for UD&WS Dinesh Gunawardena, Director CWSSP, past & present Chairman of LRWHF, Director LRWHF

Awarenewss program for Urban and Industrial sector, Oct. 2004, Sethsiripaya - Hon. Minister for UD&WS Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary UD & WS Mr Thosepala Hewage, Director Rain Center Chennai Dr S Raghvan, Mr Nadanasabapathy
  1. Recommend suitable policy for implementation: Following the symposium the Hon. Minister appointed a committee to develop a policy on RWH in Sri Lanka. The policy has passed through and accepted by the cabinet and will be publicized for public comments in the new year.
  2. Rain Center: Rain Center to disseminate information, provide advice is to be set up in Colombo with the assistance of Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply.

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