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National Water Supply &

Drainage Board
The National Water Supply and Drainage Board, established under the Act No. 2 of 1974 is a
Statutory Board under the Ministry of Water Supply & Drainage. The NWSDB is responsible for
the development, operation and maintenance of piped water supply and sewerage schemes for
the benefit of domestic, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. During the past 30 years
of its operations, the NWSDB has considerably expanded its coverage and service levels. It is
presently operating about 312 water supply schemes and providing service facilities to about
37% of the total population with pipe borne water and about 8% of the population through tube
wells installed with hand pumps. It covers 2.3% of the population with piped sewerage facilities.
Vision
To be the most prestigious utility organization in Sri Lanka through industry and service
excellence
Mission
Serve the nation by providing sustainable water & sanitation solutions ensuring total user
Satisfaction
Goals
Increase water supply & sanitation coverage
Improve operational efficiency
Achieve customer satisfaction
Increase commercial viability
Ensure greater accountability & transparency
Promote institutional development
Provide facilities and service support to rural and marginalized communities
Customer Charter
Provision of Water Supply and
Sanitation Services
As a national organization responsible for the provision of safe drinking water to the people in

Sri Lanka the National Water Supply and Drainage Board is committed to ensure an efficient and
reliable service to the beneficiaries by improving present condition of water supply schemes and
in accordance with the guidelines mentioned in this customer charter.
1. Water Quality Standards - to comply with SLS Standards
2. Level of service - to provide sufficient water to customers through out
the Island If further says that "we are always in courteous service to our customer's as
we receive our salary through your payments;
we are dedicated to serve you as follows."
Submitting an estimate after handover
of duly completed forms by the
customers
Provision of connection after signing the
agreement and making total payment by
the customer

1-7 days

1-14 days

Development Work being implemented in 2011


2The National Water Supply & Drainage Board has implemented several capital
projects during
2011 to achieve the goals set for water supply and sewerage facilities.
It is envisaged that a total investment of Rs. 300 billion will be required during the
next five years
for development work in this sector. Sri Lanka is fortunate to receive financial
assistance from
several countries, bilateral and multilateral organizations for such projects.
With respect to the year 2011, the government has allocated a total of Rs.
29,792.44 million for
the implementation of water supply and sewerage projects. Allocation of funds
among the four
project categories are as follows;
Allocation

% of

(Rs. million)

Allocation

Foreign Funded Water Supply Projects

23,276.44

78.1

Foreign Funded Sewerage projects

3,350

11.6

Small & Medium Water Supply Projects

1,800

6.0

Tsunami Rehabilitation & Reconstruction


Projects

1,366

4.6

Project category

29,792.44
100
About 63% of the total allocation has been spent for the development at the end of
September

Total

2011 and the distribution of the total expenditure among the four project categories
are shown
in the chart below.
Foreign Funded Water Supply
Projects 79.48%
Foreign Funded Sewerage
Projects 10.23%
Small & Medium Water
Supply Project 6.83%
Esunami FeGaHilitaIon &
FeconstrucIon Projects

Major donors during the year 2011 are ADB, JICA, DANIDA, KfW of Germany, SIDA,
UNICEF, IFRC and Austrian, French, Spanish, Hungarian, Korean and Dutch
Governments. Funds will be utilized to implement projects in the water and
sewerage sectors.

35
These development activities will not only provide better water and sanitation
facilities to the people of Sri Lanka
but also the following benefits;
Upgrading of socio-economic condition of beneficiaries through the provision of
access
to improved health, sanitation facilities and other basic amenities.
Direct and indirect employment to people
Efficient and healthy human resource base with knowledge and skills
Encouragement to industries
Alleviation of rural poverty
Lesser health expenditure for the Government
Increase in land values generating higher revenue to local authorities
Provide safe drinking water facilities to such areas where the people are suffering
by
Chronic Kidney Diseases due to water.
Contribution to Improve and Strengthen co-relationships with International
Organizations
and Countries
Facilitating women and disables who are facing difficulties to fetch water through
spreading piped water supply
In addition, the projects being implemented in Tsunami affected coastal areas and
war affected

Northern & Eastern areas will rehabilitate and reconstruct water supply and
sewerage facilities,
thereby improving the livelihood of those affected. Project components are not
limited to
restoration of damaged utilities but include water supply and sanitation facilities to
resettlement
areas, improvement of service levels in affected areas and extensions to new
development areas
in the vicinity.

2.2 Performance and Ma


History of the National Water Supply & Drainage Board
The Organization had its beginnings as a sub department under the Public Works Department, for
Water Supply & Drainage. In 1965, it became a division under the Ministry of Local
Government. From 1970, this division functioned as a separate department under the Ministry of
Irrigation, Power & Highways and remained so until the present Board was established in
January
1975
by
an
Act
of
Parliament.
The National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), which presently functions under the
Ministry of Water Supply & Drainage is the principal authority providing safe drinking water
and facilitating the provision of sanitation in Sri Lanka. In accordance with the Board Act,
several major Urban Water Supply Schemes operated by Local Authorities were taken over by
the NWSDB to provide more coverage and improved service. Consumer metering & billing
commenced in 1982. Rural Water Supply & Sanitation programmes including deep well
programmes
are
also
being
implemented
by
the
NWSDB.
During the past 36 years, the organization has considerably expanded its scope of activities. The
employee numbers have increased from about one thousand (1,000) in 1975 to nine thousand and
thirteen (9,013) in 2010.
The NWSDB is presently operating 312 Water Supply Schemes which cover 39% of the total
population with pipe borne Water Supply, 12% of the population is served with hand pump tube
wells. We hope to increase the coverage with pipe borne water to 45.7% by 2015 so that the
United Nations Millennium Development Goal of 85% safe drinking water coverage can be
achieved by that year. The NWSDB is also in charge of the sewerage systems in Colombo &
suburbs, Hantane, Koggala, Hikkaduwa, Kataragama and in few housing schemes. Our
Strengths
We have a highly motivated technically skilled staff. Our staff include senior professionals who
have postgraduate qualifications in technical, financial, management and other disciplines. Our
staff also include middle level officers who are technically qualified having wide experience in
the
field
of
water
supply
and
sewerage.
In the Planning and Design Division the process designs, pipe line designs, water treatment plant
designs and pumping station designs are undertaken by senior engineers who have wide
experience in the field of water supply & sewerage. Technical Capabilities

We are carrying out operation and maintenance of more than 312 water supply schemes
throughout the island. Modern technologies are being used for our works. Software applications
such as WaterCad are being used for pipeline designs. We are utilizing Information Technology
resources for our works at a satisfactory level. There are Local Area Networks, Wide Area
Networks and other hardware and software to improve the efficiency of our works. We are also
using Virtual Private Network covering the entire Island. Capital Budget
We are undertaking development activities in the water supply and sewerage sectors using
foreign funds and local funds. The total Capital Budget for 2011 is Rs. 29,098.9 million.
The foreign component utilized during 2010 was Rs. 16,517.0 million and the local fund
utilization was Rs. 7,260 million. The amount spent undet Tsunami rehabilitation &
reconstruction was Rs. 2,612.0 million.

A vision of water for all


D h a r m a n W I C K R E M A R ATN E

Seventy percent of the earths surface is water. Yet only two percent of it can be used
for drinking purposes. Of the 70 percent 97.5 is salt water and 2.5 percent is fresh
water. Humans use less than one percent of salt water.
The Mahaweli River which is 335 km in length is the longest of Sri Lankas
103 rivers. The widest river in the island is the Kelani. Around 65 percent
of river waters flow into the sea without being used for any purpose. We
TNA leader and
MP R Sambandan
addressing those
present at the
event.
Ministers
Basil Rajapaksa,
Dinesh
Gunwardena and
French
Ambassador
Chirstine
Robichon are also
in the picture.

still use only about 35 percent of water available in the country for
agricultural and other purposes. Around 20 percent of rain water seep
into the earth and become ground water while 30 percent remain as
water in rivers, irrigation channels, reservoirs (tanks), lakes and ponds.
Need to purify water

Although water found on the earths surface is a natural resource, water


in rivers, reservoirs, streams and ponds is often unfit for drinking. This is

due to polluted air, silt, carbonic substances and all kinds of pesticides and agrochemicals used for cultivation purposes. Hence serious attention should be paid to the
purification of water and making it safe for drinking to prevent ill-health. It is a national
responsibility. History reminds us that King Dhatusena considered water the only
wealth. In ancient Sri Lanka the main focus of water management was the supply of
water to irrigation channels.

In colonial times supplying water to urban areas also became important. Consequently
the Labugama reservoir was built in 1886. Kalatuwawa was built in the postindependence period (1960) to supply water to Colombo and suburbs.
Needless to say water is most essential for the survival of both man and
beast. The importance of water is second only to the air we breathe.
Therefore the lack of adequate drinking water supply will undoubtedly
result in development work coming to a standstill. Without question it
will have a serious impact on human health and nutrition. Water is the
source of life. No life can survive without it.

The Kantale
Water Tower
currently in
operation

Water projects

Scarcity of clean water has affected hundreds and thousands of people in the
Trincomalee District, causing them untold hardships. It is to solve this grave problem
that the massive Trincomalee water supply scheme and the modernization of the
Kantale water purification plant began recently. It is another step towards fulfilling a
promise given in the Mahinda Chintana. The sources of water for the areas coming
under the scheme are the Kantale tank and the Mahaweli River. Its beneficiaries will be
330,000 people in the district.
The cost of this project - scheduled to be completed within 18 months - is Rs. 4,587
million, which is a joint contribution by the French and Sri Lankan governments. After
completion the scheme will ensure a 24-hour water supply for all communities in the
district. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Water Supply and
Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena inaugurated the rehabilitation and upgrading of
Kantale Water Treatment Plant and Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply
Project in Kantale recently.
It was implemented by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) under
the guidance of the Water Supply and Drainage Ministry with financial assistance of the
French Republic and the government of Sri Lanka. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader
and MP R Sambandan was also present. Other invitees included the Ambassador for
France in Sri Lanka and Maldives Christine Robichon, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Development Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame and Buddha Sasana and Religious
Deputy Minister A D S Gunawardena.

total

of

49,000

families

in

Kuchchaweli,

Sampalthivu,

Trincomalee

town,

Thampalakamam, Kinniya, Kantale etc will benefit from this scheme. Now water is
supplied to Trincomalee residents from the Kantale tank. But most of the water is used
for agricultural purposes.
Consequently the daily hours of supplying drinking water to Kantale was
restricted to 12; to Kinniya six hours and Thambalagamuwa three hours.
But in another 18 months, they will get water round-the-clock. NWSDB
Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that under the proposed project
existing infrastructure would be rehabilitated and new facilities will be
built to achieve 12 million gallon supply capacity to allow supplies for
330,000 inhabitants.

A family which is
benefiting
from
the scheme. Chief
Engineer, French
National
Bernad
Cuvellier
and
Mudalihamy,
resident
of
Saliyapura
are
also in the picture

A human right

Minister Rajapaksa said that having access to clean water was a basic human right. He
observed that with the population increase the demand for clean water had increased
tremendously. It was therefore absolutely necessary to see that this common resource
is managed and used in a sustainable way, equally benefiting all.
According to Chief Engineer, Kantale Water Treatment Plant and pumping stations,
French national Bernad Cuvellier, water will be supplied to the station through a 600
mm pipeline from the Mahaweli River and Kantale tank. The pipes will be laid along a 23
km stretch on the Raja Ela Road, Kantale. Project Director and Engineer N Sudeshan
said that everyone in Kantale, Thampalagamam, Kinniya Town, part of Kuchchaveli and
other areas would benefit from this project. He stressed the need for everyone to unite
regardless of ethnic differences and make Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia. TNA leader
Sambandan said this water scheme would meet a timely need of the people of the
Trincomalee district. He pointed out that laying the pipelines before carpeting the road
linking Trincomalee and Batticaloa would prevent wastage of funds.
Kidney diseases

Kidney diseases have caused the deaths of some Kantale residents as a


result of drinking unclean water from wells. According to Mudalihamy, a
father of two in Saliyapura, two members of one family in Jayanthipura
had died of kidney diseases. Mudalihamy, a farm labourer had come with
Workers laying
the pipeline for
the project

his wife Koyinmenike to Kantale around 1950 and settled in a land


obtained under the government colonisation scheme. He earns Rs 800 per
day. About 75 percent of the employees of the water supply scheme are

Trincomalee residents.Their daily pay nearly Rs 700. Field Supervisor P R M Bandara


said that the Trincomalee District will see a new dawn with the infrastructure
development the government has initiated. As Minister Rajapaksa has stated the poor
should benefit from the development work now in progress.
A French Embassy spokesperson said: The Kantale project will complement the
Trincomalee Integrated Infrastructure Programme financed by the French Development
Agency through a very concessional loan of Euros 69 mn. The project focuses on the
construction and rehabilitation of public infrastructures in the district, such as roads
(the A15 road between Trincomalee and Thirukkodiyamadu, the B10 road between
Kantale and the seashore and the C-Class coastal road), bridges (5 bridges on the A15),
the networks for water supply and distribution of electricity, and community
development infrastructures (schools, libraries, medical centres) etc.
With the commencement of work on the water supply scheme 330,000 people
belonging to 49,000 families are looking forward to a bright future. Their happiness is
reflected on their faces.
(The

writer

is

an

ejournalists@gmail.com)

environmental

Journalist

who

could

be

reached

at