Training Programme on Urban Rainwater Harvesting and Decentralised Wastewater Treatment and Reuse, Sri Lanka

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in collaboration with the Colombo based NGO, Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum (LRWHF) organised a four day training programme in Colombo on ‘Urban Rainwater Harvesting (URWH) and Decentralised Wastewater Treatment (DWWT) and Reuse’ for engineers, researchers and  practitioners from various organisations in Sri Lanka,  between December 11 to 14, 2012.

For sustainability of water resources in Srilanka a policy was formulated for encouraging rain water harvesting back in year 2005 and supported by modification of building bye-laws making provisions for rainwater harvesting systems. However the implementation of the rainwater harvesting in urban areas in Srilanka has been slow. Also the wetlands and other water bodies in Srilanka are increasingly threatened and encroached adding to the water problems. The sewage disposal system and the treatment facilities are also not sufficient to tackle the wastewater generated. The Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage (MWS&D), Sri Lanka is presently working on the drafts of regulations for  rainwater harvesting, water usage and wastewater discharge.

Speaking on the closing of the workshop, Mr. Dinesh Gunawardane, Honourable Minister for Water Supply and Drainage, Sri Lanka talked about the usefulness of rainwater harvesting and DWWT in the urban areas for sustainability of the water resources in Sri Lanka. He emphasised the need for scaling up implementation of model projects in the water stressed areas of Sri Lanka in a time bound manner. The honourable minister also emphasised on the health hazards caused by the groundwater contamination in some water stressed areas of Sri Lanka. Looking at the insufficient sewage disposal system in the country, the minister stressed on the need for new decentralised approach on the DWWT model. The honourable minister also requested CSE to organise two more training programmes on the decentralised systems in the water stressed states of Kandy and Anuradhapura. He also requested CSE  for hand holding support for setting up rainwater harvesting and DWWT projects. The MWS&D wanted CSE to give its inputs on their upcoming regulations on  rainwater harvesting and water usage and wastewater discharge.

Dr. Suresh Rohilla, Programme Director, Water Management CSE, focussed on the strict enforcement of laws related to rainwater harvesting and decentralised wastewater recycle and reuse. He highlighted the need for experience sharing and also suggested implementation of few model projects in the country to show case these systems.

The focus of these trainings is to impart skills to the engineers, researchers and practitioners in implementation of URWH systems and DWWT including recycle and reuse. Both the training programmes were attended by over 22 Sri Lankan participants.

Date:11 - 14 December 2012.

Venue: Hector Kobbekaduwa Research and Training Center, 114, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka