Addressing a Press conference held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC), State Minister for Water Supply, Sanath Nishantha, provided an update on the progress and challenges faced in meeting the water supply needs of Sri Lanka’s population.
Currently, efforts have been made to address 62% of the drinking water requirements across the island. The ministry is actively working towards achieving the goal of providing water supply to 85% of all requirements in the near future.
Acknowledging the economic difficulties faced by the country, State Minister Sanath Nishantha emphasized the importance of using water sparingly, as the government has decided to raise water charges. By conserving water, both the nation and its people can find some relief amidst existing economic challenges. He conveyed these updates during a press conference held today (01) at the Presidential Media Centre under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.’
Under the Ministry of Water Supply, three key institutions are operating: the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, the Water Resources Management Board, and the Community Water Supply Department. The National Water Supply and Drainage Board ensures the provision of high-quality water to the public, while 4,332 Community Water Societies cater to the water needs of 800,000 families who have limited access to Water. Another 1,000 new projects have also been implemented.
Although the implementation of initial plans faced difficulties due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges, the stabilization efforts led by the current President have allowed for a gradual resumption of activities.
While several community water projects initiated in 2020 are nearing completion, the importation of 248 water pipe containers by the Water Supply Board faced temporary suspension due to financial constraints. However, discussions with the President and Finance Ministry officials have resulted in the gradual release of these containers from the port.
To address the drinking water needs of the northern and eastern provinces, the installation of 400 nano water treatment systems has commenced, with 65 systems already completed and handed over to the public. Additionally, 70% of the drinking water requirements in Ampara and Trincomalee districts have been fulfilled.
The Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project (WASSIP) is actively providing water to areas that cannot be served by both the Water Supply Board and the Community Water Supply Department. Currently, the program is being implemented in Kegalle and Nuwara Eliya districts.
Efforts are also underway to construct salt barriers to prevent saltwater intrusion into rivers due to tidal conditions. Salt barriers have been completed for Ging Ganga, Nilwala Ganga, and Ma Oya, while construction has commenced for Kalu and Kelani rivers, utilizing technology from the Netherlands.
The government has also taken steps to provide affordable water supply to urban slum dwellings, with a unit of 1000 litres previously priced at Rs. 60. Considering the production cost alone, the value is approximately Rs.86. However, when factoring in the debt burden of the Water Supply Board, the cost rises to Rs. 134. Despite this, the board is currently providing a unit of water for Rs. 116.
In light of these developments, the Ministry of Water Supply urges the public to use this valuable resource sparingly, contributing to both national and personal savings.
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