A webinar program on “rainwater harvesting in the plantations” organised by Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum in collaboration with Elpitiya plantation held on 8th April 2021. The webinar is organised in celebration of World Water Day 2021, to share experience and benefits of implementing rainwater harvesting in the plantation sector. The presenters were from plantation companies which received technical advice and designs from Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum. Three presentations were made by Mr Chandana Liyadipita, Deputy General Manager Up countries , Elpitiya Plantation , Mr Nuwan de Silva , Assistant Manager Forestry, Kahawatta plantation and Mr Niranga Weliwita ,Director , Sunway Global Pvt Ltd on behalf of Forbes & Walkers plantations.
Mr Chandana Liyadipita emphasized that their target was to build 65 rainwater catchment ponds and however, elpitiya plantation was able to build 77 ponds collecting 254 million litres of rainwater per harvest. Their watering requirement per 1 round is 40 million litres, after implementing RWH they able to utilise the harvested water for 6 rounds to water 18 million tea bushes and 149,794 oil palm trees. Another benefit of harvesting rainwater was that the water retention in soil has imporved, therefore the texture and organic matter of the soil has improved. Also fish were reared in some ponds which supported the community health and nutrition.
Mr Nuwan de Silva stated that Kahawatta plantation faced crop deterioration during the months of January and December due to lesser rain fall and June to September due to lesser sun light. Both factors are natural phenomena which are uncontrollable but during the months of May to October high rainfall is available. Therefore, if that water is harvested can be utilised during the water shortage months to water the plants. At Khawatta plantation roof top and run of water is captured at seven estates, total capacity of captured rainwater is 129,799 M3.
Mr Niranga Weliwita highlighted that Forbes & Walkers plantations in Wanathavilluva have been using ground water for their asparagus plantation. The ground water available has high level of Electric Conductivity(12,000 ppm) and high water hardness , therefore drip irrigations systems gets clogged. Therefore, three rainwater ponds were designed with geo membrane lining, expecting to harvest 7 million litres rainwater. After completion of rainwater ponds construction, the following month rainfall the ponds were able to capture and the expected 7 million litres of rainwater . . The harvested rainwater is sufficient for 20 days of irrigation. After installation of rainwater ponds, they were able to save money which they used for pumping ground water, which is LKR 70,000 per month.
The webinar program can be viewed https://www.facebook.com/137039606482267/videos/751737138859347 and 3 presentations are also attached below .Elpitiya-Plantation-_-RWH-