The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has reiterated that the Thambuttegama water supply scheme is not a project to sell bottled water.
The NWSDB says that it had been compelled to acquire a certain quantity of water from the Rajanganaya Reservoir for the Thambuttegama water supply scheme and related projects due to the heavy demand for drinking water and the prevalence of kidney patients in the area.
Issuing a statement, the NWSDB said the decision was based on the nature of the underground water in the region and it planned to obtain loans from China for this purpose.
Recently farmers in Thambuttegama protested against water being obtained from the Rajanganaya Reservoir.
The Board in its statement said that alternative measures are taken during the drought period to obtain water and water is not taken 24 hours from the reservoir during the drought.
The following is the full statement:
The existing Thambuttegama irrigation system has been built under the Mahaweli Project and it takes 2,500 cubic meters (m3) of water per day from the Nallachchi Tank, purifies and distributes to drinking water to around 4,750 households.
A new water supply project was planned and implemented to provide relief to the people in the area due to the high demand for drinking water and the high prevalence of kidney disease in the area. Measures were taken to obtain financial assistance for the project from China.
Due to the problems in the quality and quantity of the groundwater in the area, water for the project should be obtained from a surface water source to purify and provide drinking water to the people.
Considering all these facts, it was decided to obtain water for the Thambuttegama water supply system from the Rajanganaya Reservoir.
The Thambuttegama water supply scheme requires 19,800 m3 of water per day and obtaining the water from the Rajanganaya Reservoir has been approved by the Irrigation Department.
After the completion of this water supply system, via a division system, water will be provided to 28 Grama Seva areas in Thambuttegama, 04 Grama Niladhari Divisions in the Galnewa Divisional Secretariat Division and 12 Grama Niladhari Divisions in Talawa Divisional Secretariat Division.
Stressing that the project is not a project to bottle water for sale, we inform that it’s a government development project under the supervision of the NWSDB and once the project is completed it will be managed by the Board.
In addition to this project, tenders have been called for the Eppawala, Rajanganaya, Nochchiyagama and Castlereagh Water Supply Projects to be implemented to meet the drinking water needs of Rajanganaya farmers.
Irrigation Department in 2015 has agreed to allocate 44,000 m3 of water per day from Rajanganaya Reservoir for all of these projects.
However, there is opposition from the farmers’ organisations at present. Therefore, there is a need to reach a consensus in order to obtain water from the Rajanganaya Tank before proceeding with this project.