Ongoing construction of the water tank tower. Once completed, the height of the tower will be 15 meters from the ground, and the tank will provide 46,000 liters of water per day for 230 households.
In a remote village in the Polonnaruwa District of the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, construction work on infrastructure for supplying clean water for the villagers is now in full swing.
The people of Mahawalithanna Village – 1,000 people in 230 households – have long been suffering from a shortage of clean water and waterborne diseases. In the dry season, which lasts from January to July, water dries up completely in the region, and villagers need to walk as far as 10-15 km outside the village to fetch water. Unsafe water usually causes waterborne diseases. For example in the village, elders suffer from kidney problems and children become sick due to urinary infections, which keeps them from attending school.
At the start of the project, engineers searched for an underground water source by using an electrical resistivity-measuring device.
To improve the availability and quality of water and life for the villagers, Green Cross International (GCI), GC Sri Lanka and GC Japan started a joint water project in May 2017 by finding the underground water source and digging a deep-tube well. This project is slated for the end of this year and will connect each household to water from the well through a water-supply installation that holds a filtering system, a water tank tower and pipelines.
During the construction, villagers would volunteer and help with digging ditches for laying the pipelines while working in agriculture, which is their main livelihood. After completing the project, the villagers will maintain the water-supplying system and collect the fees for the water themselves through a newly organised village-water-committee.
The project in Mahawalithanna Village is the second joint water project in Sri Lanka between GCI, GC Sri Lanka and GC Japan following a water-supplying operation from September 2015, in Plawala Village in the Ampare District of the Eastern Province.
Digging the deep-tube well to the depth of 60 meters.
This project is part of the “Smart Water for Green Schools (SWGS)” project. The SWGS project, which Green Cross started in 2010 provides access to water and sanitation for communities in need around the world, and contributes to international efforts to secure safe drinking water and sanitation for every human being. SWGS addresses children’s needs first, as they are more vulnerable to waterborne diseases, but does target entire communities as well. SWGS’ methods include building infrastructure and empowering communities to maintain their own water supplies, reducing the risk of deadly waterborne diseases, promoting the sustainable use of water resources, and increasing school attendance, girls’ education and gender equality.