ADB funds Jaffna Water, Sanitation study

[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 December 2003, 11:45 GMT]
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded Conflict Affected Area Rehabilitation Project (CAARP) will undertake a feasibility study for Jaffna peninsula water supply and sanitation at an estimated cost US $ 1.2 million, Jaffna Secretariat officials said. Of this amount ADB will provide one million US dollars and the remainder will be contributed by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL). The study will be implemented over nine months commencing from 1st April 2004, a project official told Tamilnet.

The study will recommend a safe and reliable water supply and sanitation systems rehabilitation project to be implemented separately. The study will also assess the institutional capacity in managing the system, and recommend an institutional development strategy, the official added.

The study will require about 30 and 100 persons-months of international and domestic specialists respectively. The consulting team will include local experts with ground knowledge. International consulting expertise will include urban water supply specialists, rural water supply specialists, engineers related to irrigation, sanitary and water resources; economists and specialists related to private sector, environment and sociologist development specialists. Domestic expertise will be similar, plus appropriate physical, social, and environmental expertise for survey, community interaction, and other purposes, an official said.

Currently, Jaffna’s water supply and sanitation situation is precarious. All water for domestic and other uses is obtained directly from groundwater, recharged by collecting rainwater in the extensive pond system in the peninsula. The system is supported by dilapidated barrages across inlets from the sea, to provide storage and to prevent salt-water contamination. All urban, commercial, and agricultural waste is discharged into the same groundwater system.

The system is now largely in ruins, due to direct war damage and neglected maintenance, and has effectively ceased to function. Water is provided for limited hours (1-2 hours maximum) through this system, from a well system in Thirunelvaely and Kondavil within the peninsula. The waste disposal system, has caused the contamination of the groundwater system. Now all areas in the peninsula confirm the presence of preventable intestinal disease, with typhoid and cholera now emerging as major public health challenges, CAARP project report on the proposed feasibility study said.

The CAARP in the northeast province will last four years from January 2004 to December 2007, sources said.

Some of the aspects that would include in the Jaffna peninsula water supply and sanitation feasibility study are:

  • Assess the characteristics of the existing water supplies and sanitation facilities, health and disease incidences throughout the district, including the levels of service, access to safe drinking water, quality of water, and cost of water.
  • Assess the effect of the existing water supply and sanitation service levels on the population and their current socio-economic situation.
  • Identify all pollutant sources, and the degree of pollution caused by each of these sources and ranks them in the order of seriousness using a suitable criteria.
  • Develop a zoning plan for land use in consultation with relevant stakeholders for 50 years projection of domestic/institutional/commercial and industrial water demand.
  • Work out the possible options for integration of water scheme, based on resources availability and needs assessment to gain operational efficiency and economies of scale.
  • Assess water needs for the population and identifying satisfactory levels of services and expected population and industrial growth.
  • Categorize all available water resources covering ground water, surface water at Iranaimadu tank, rainwater harvesting and desalination. Develop a phased out plan for implementation to ensure uninterrupted perennial water supply.
  • Carry out detail cost benefit analysis of all the above possible water resources options and develop a criteria for prioritization of all these options.
  • Develop an implementation plan, which should address at what stage in different water resources options shall be harnessed and implemented.
  • Provide recommendation on the appropriate technology for the extraction of ground water giving attention to salinity intrusion and control of pollution levels.
  • Prepare a preliminary design of the new water supply system. Include density criteria to select areas to be served by urban schemes, and recommend options for rural community based water supply system.
  • Develop policies and guidelines for water extraction rights for surface water and ground water to encompass all the stakeholders. Make recommendations as institutional framework for administrating and enacting these guidelines and policies.
  • Address the issue of the pollution of ground and surface water by haphazard solid waste disposal. Provide recommendations on handling the solid waste giving recommendation on appropriate technologies, which could be used along with a tentative investment plan.
  • Identify the extent of mine and UXO contamination in the selected sites for the system, and costing their survey and removal.
  • Prepare a financial and economic analysis for the proposed investment scenarios in accordance to ADB guidelines.
  • Providing a socioeconomic profile of the intended beneficiaries and indicate how the poor sector of the population will benefit from the investment following ADB guidelines. Prepare a strategy to increase access to service by poorer sector of the population and participation by women and minority groups and water user groups.
  • Prepare environmental impact assessment and appropriate resettlement plan as required for the proposed investment in accordance with ADB guidelines.
  • Develop an implementation, including indicative procurement packaging and implementation schedule, taking into account the capacity of the domestic and foreign contractors working in the post conflict situation.
  • Assess the need for complementary sanitation improvements that will have a minimum impact on the fragile water resources in the peninsula.
  • Develop guidelines for on site sanitation disposal system and recommendation of the appropriate technologies to minimize ground water pollution.


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