‘Urgent action needed for NP water scarcity’ | Daily News

‘Urgent action needed for NP water scarcity’

As an immediate solution to the ground water scarcity in the Northern Province, a reverse osmosis (RO) plant is being implemented with Asian Development Bank (ADB) support, said V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Resettlement and Rehabilitation and Northern Province Development.

A study revealed that revival of ground water in the Northern Province and in particular, the Jaffna District, will take 10 to 20 years, he said.

Access to safe drinking water has been a major issue in the recent past in the Province and the Jaffna District in particular.

On account of the flat nature of the terrain of the Jaffna District, there are no reservoirs in the Peninsula and, as such, the Peninsula depends on ground water for all its water requirements. The potable water for the population of over 600,000 depends on ground water as the only source, he said.

A study of the Provincial Irrigation Department, Northern Province and Regional National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has revealed that the excessive application of inorganic agro-chemicals, sea water intrusion due to excessive pumping, lack of sewerage system, non-rehabilitation of salt water extrusion schemes, unregulated tube well extraction, and lack of attention to recharge abandoned ponds have affected the availability of water quality and quantity.

The relevant specialist agencies have proposed the construction of Lower Paali Aaru reservoir to be located in the downstream of Vavunikulam, Kollavilankulam, Kalvilankulam, Mallavi tank and in the upstream of the Adampankulam.

From the preliminary studies it is noted that currently there is ample water flowing to the sea without being utilised and this could be stored in the proposed lower Paali Aaru reservoir.

The estimated annual water demand of 22 million cubic metres for Jaffna Peninsula could be easily met from the proposed Lower Paali Aaru reservoir. The proposed location for the reservoir is Perumparappukulam in Mannar District which is an abandoned minor irrigation tank.

The capacity of the proposed reservoir is to be 37 million cubic metres. The total estimates cost (TEC) of this project is Rs. 3,500 million and the cost of the full feasibility study will be Rs. 40 million.

The Provincial Irrigation Department, Northern Province and the Regional NWSDB has proposed a feasibility study on the Lower Paali Aaru water supply and thereafter, to implement the project with suitable funding.


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