Mainstreaming Rainwater Harvesting Systems as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Tool

Home / Mainstreaming Rainwater Harvesting Systems as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Tool
Project Areas Districts of Vavuniya and Mannar, Trincomale, Anuradhpura, Polonaruwa, Ampara and Hambantota
Duration October 2013 to September 2014
Funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Cost$149,955 as USAID’s contribution
$41,219 LRWHF’s contribution
Project ObjectivesThe objective of this project is to mainstreaming the viability of rainwater harvesting systems as a practical, widespread Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) tool by raise awareness and building capacity on rain water harvesting and ground water recharging technology.

  1. Lobby with national and local level authorities (such as the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage) to raise awareness on government policy and regulations on rainwater harvesting in targeted districts
  2. Increase awareness among communities and school children on the benefits of rainwater harvesting as a drinking water source
  3. Demonstrate methods for the provison of clean drinking water facilities in resettlement areas in Vavuniya and Mannar districts
  4. Build the capacity of professionals, government officials and project managers on planning, designing and the construction of rainwater harvesting and recharging systems, create a pool of masons and plumbers to construct 30,000 liter rainwater harvesting and recharge systems
  5. Reduce the cost of rain water harvesting systems in order to increase its affordability and adaptability at the community level
  6. Monitor and evaluate household systems constructed in the previous DGP project to measure the system's integration and adaptability by previous program beneficiaries
Outputs of the Project

Proposed activity Expected Outputs
1 Awareness campaign and capacity building
  • A 30-minute documentary. 5-minute video snippets each totaling 3, on ‘technical construction’ and ‘economic benefits’ of and ‘social values’ generated through rainwater harvesting
  • 2 media visits to Vavuniya, 12 journalists per visit to make aware on rain water constructions and to write up newspaper articles
  • Training program for professionals
  • Marketing Campaign - Promote RWH Systems & Awareness in 5 Districts
  • Mason Training
2 Demonstration rain water harvesting/ recharging systems in 35 locations (schools and hospitals) Construction of 35 Tanks Hospitals & Schools Manner &Vavuniya District. Approximately 10,000 people supplied with safe drinking water
3 O&M Training Programs in schools & Hospitals Approximately 10,000 people will be trained on O&M of RWH systems
4 Research and Development of RWH systems Low cost RWH system developed
5 National Conference National workshop on RWH
6 Monitoring & Awareness Maintenance of LRWHF USAID Project AID -383 – G -12 -00004 site 15 sites implemented with RWH systems in Vauniya supported with beneficiary meeting, repairs& other maintenance training.

a) Lobbying at the Government Level and Local Authority Level to Raise Awareness on Government Policy and Regulation on Rain Water Harvesting in Target Districts

1. Awareness Program for Officials

428 Government officials (GA, DS), Health Officers (PHI, MOH, Midwifes) and NWSDB officers participated. Awareness programs were held in 5 districts.

Anuradhapura District

Presentation on RWH was presented at the Sri Lanka Administrative Association meeting Anuradhapura District, 58 participated held on the 6/12/2013.

Presentation at Sri Lanka Administrative Association meeting Anuradhapura District

Polonnaruwa District

Awareness program on RWH and health benefits for Health Sector Officials (PHM, PHI, MOH) was held at MOH office , Thamankaduwa, Polonnaruwa. 101 MOH Officers participated on the 28/01/2014.

Awareness program was held to Health Sector Officials on the 28/01/2014, at MOH office Polonnaruwa.

Ampara District

Awareness programs on RWH were held at 3 DS Offices in Ampara District to District Secretary, Development Officer and other staff members.

Uhana DS Division

Damana DS Division

Kalmunai DS office

Awareness program for Health Sector officials (HSA, SPHM, MOH) was held on the 10/07/2014 at RDHS office, Ampara. At the program presentation on RWH and a video documentary was screened 46 MOH officers participated.

Trincomalee District

Presentation on RWH was conducted to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board officials of Trincomalee on the 25/09/2014. 50 participated.

Hambantota District

Presentation on RWH was made on the 24/07/2014 at the District Planning Secretariat Auditorium, Hambantota, 49 government officials participated.

Presentation at the District Planning Secretariat Auditorium, Hambantota

2. Networking with relevant authorities

Meeting held and collaborated with District Secretaries Anuradhpura, Ampara, Trincomalee, Hambantota, Provincial Health Directors Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Ampara,  Assistant General Manager – Eastern Province of National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NSWDB) (Based in Ampara), Deputy General Manager – Eastern Province of National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NSW&DB) (Based in Trincomalee),  Director National Collaboration Development Foundation, a NGO that operate in the Trincomalee District, National Science Foundation, Colombo University, St Antony’s group Pvt. Ltd.

3. National Conference

The Symposium was on the theme of “Mainstreaming rainwater harvesting systems as a water supply option” Ten research papers under the following themes were presented at the symposium: technical, social and economic aspects of rainwater harvesting; rainwater harvesting as a climate change adaptation measure; and health benefits and issues related to rainwater use.

The symposium was held on Friday the 05th September 2014 at yellow auditorium of International Water Management Institute, Pelawatte. To inaugurate the symposium Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister for Water Supply & Drainage as the chief guest, Her Excellency Michele J. Sision as the special guest and Han Heijnen as the key note speaker participated at this occasion. Engineers, water specialized and expertise, university students, professors and Board Members of LRWHF participated at the symposium.

Symposium on “Mainstreaming rainwater harvesting systems as a water supply option” held at yellow auditorium in International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Pelawatte.

b) Increasing awareness among community and school children on the benefits of rainwater harvesting as a drinking water source

4. Video Documentary

Experience of people who was benefited by the past project of LRWHF in 3 districts (Vavuniya, Ampara and Hambantota) was  visually recorded. The video documentary elaborates the stories of people how they face difficult to access safe drinking water and after receiving RWHS how their lives changed economically, socially and health.

The video documentary is  30 minutes and 20 minutes in 3 (Sinhala, Tamil and English) languages. Short clips was also developed on “Operation and Maintenance of RWHS” and “Water related aliments”

The 20 minutes documentary was telecasted on following channels:

Telecasted Videos

5. Visibility of Action
  1. 23,000 Leaflets (14,000 Sky water T/S, 5,000 Household E, O/M 4,000 S/T) have been designed in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages and printed distribute among the public Community & Government officials such as the GA’s DS’s GS’s ,RDHS, PHI, etc…)
  2. 200 Symposium Abstract booklet Printed and distributed
  3. 200 Symposium proceedings in CD distributed
  4. 36 boards Operation and maintainers board for schools and hospitals 5 Sinhala in 31 Tamil are displayed
  5. 36 Tiles with logos for RWH system in schools and hospitals
  6. Advertisement in buses designed in Sinhala and Tamil displayed in 5 bus route in the 5 districts where marketing campaign is conducted.

Symposium Abstracts book cover | View Abstract Booklet here

Bus Advertisements in Sinhala and Tamil

6. Setup Rain Center Exhibition Area

3 demonstration models on RWH and Waste-water recharge systems and banners have been designed and displayed in the rain center.

Display boards at Rain Center

Window sticker “The Water Cycle“ at Rain Center

Waste-water reuse model

7. Awareness program held for public and number of participants

27 awareness programs were held in schools, community centers, hospitals and Divisional Secretariats offices in 5 districts. More than 1,000 participated.

3 exhibitions, one at a school Mannar (September 2014), one at a hospital Polonnaruwa (March 2014) and at the 3rd International Conference on Community Water Services held in Kandy (August).

32 awareness programs were held in schools and hospitals in Vavuniya district and district, 1,694 persons consisting of parents, teachers, students and hospital staff participated.

Anuradhapura District

Held 2 awareness programs on RWH at Vanni Palugollawa Vidayalaya 150 Student, 45 Parent participated and at Athewewa Vidayalaya, 250 Student, 20 Parent participated.

Vanni Palugollawa Vidayalaya awareness program 28.11.2013

Athewawe Vidayalaya Awareness program 22/01/2014

Held an awareness program for community at Helabagawawewa, Anuradhapura, 60 community members participated on the 10.12.2013.

11 Community awareness programs were held in Anuradhapura district in DS areas with reported Chronic Kidney Disease prevalence and in areas which has previously build RWH systems.

Issambassagalla Village 

Kattuwewa Village

Kenthewewa Village

Pandukabayapura Village

Pihimbiyagollawa Village

Ambagaswewa Village

Rambewa Village

Polonaruwa District

Exhibition was held at Aralaganwila Hospital, Polonnaruwa and PE RWH Tank was donated by St Antony’s group around 100 youth and 50 public participated.

Exhibition at Aralaganwilla Hospital Polonnaruwa

Ampara District

09 awareness programs on RWH were held in 10 Divisional Secretariat areas in villages with and without RWH System in Ampara.

Addalaichenai Community

Kotawehara Community

Panama Community       

Pansalagoda Community

Mahaoya Community

Navinthanveli Community

Sengamuwa Community                              

Thirukkovil Community

Trincomalee District

Held an awareness program on RWH for students at St. Mary’s College Trincomalee for 250 St Mary college and, 50 Methodist Girls College students at St Mary’s College Auditorium, Trincomalee on 31/07/2014.

Awareness program on RWH for students at St. Mary’s College Trincomalee

Hambantota District

Training of trainers (TOT) program was conducted by LRWHF for 101 students studying environmental management at faculty of Science, University of Colombo on the 21st and 28th April 2014.

10 programs were conducted by above trained students for 6 Schools in Hambantota on 10th of May 2014.

  • Deberawewa President Collage – 3 Sessions
  • Deberawewa Central Collage – 2 Sessions
  • Thelulla Kanishta Vidiyalaya – 2 Sessions
  • Kavantissapura Maha Vidiyalaya – 1 session
  • Magama Maha Vidiyalaya – 1 session
  • Walikatha Maha Vidiyalaya – 1 session
8. Newspaper articles – media visits

11 journalists from 10 newspaper publishers was taken to Vavuniya previous DGP grant sites and experience shared, 10 articles were published in newspapers one in Magazine.

  • The Nation on 16th February 2014 (English)
  • Daily News on 20th February 2014 (English)
  • Sunday Island on 23rd March 2014 (English)
  • Sunday Silimina 23rd March 2014 (Sinhala)
  • Daily Divayina 4th March 2014 (Sinhala)
  • Daily Lakbima  4th March 2014 (Sinhala)
  • Daily Verakesari on 17th February 2014(Tamil)
  • Project outcomes and photos are displayed on a paper advertisement in three languages. Daily News (Englsih pg 15), Daily Lankadeepa (Sinhala pg5) and Veerakesari (Tamil pg13)
  • Lanka Women (Sept 2014 Issue) – 3 Newspaper and web publications on National Symposium were published.
  • Ceylon Today (English pg01 ) 6/09/2014
  • Daily E- Island ( web version English) 12/09/2014
  • Daily Divayina Newspaper (Sinhala “Kamatha Supplement” pg II- III), 30/09/2014
9. Media events
  • 2 TV programs held  in  English and Sinhala on Sirasa Debater School program on the following topic “An efficient plan is in place / is not place to harvest rain water in Sri Lanka”.(Sirasa TV in Sinhala) on 22nd February 2014 and (MTV in English) on the 25th March 2014. The schools participated for the debtors are LearneumInternational School Colombo.
    • St. Silvester College, Kandy
    • Ranabima Rajakeeya Vidyalaya, Kandy
    • Dharmaraja College, Kandy
    • Piliyandala Madya MahaVidyalaya, Piliyandala
  • TV interview on Good Morning Sri Lanka ( MTV) March 2014

C) Demonstrate methods of provision of clean drinking water facilities for in resettlement areas in Vavuniya and Mannar districts

10) a) Construction of RWH Systems in Schools & Hospitals

36 RWH system constructed in Schools and Hospitals in Vavuniya District  and in Mannar District

  • 20 x 30,000 liter RWH System constructed in Schools(15) and Hospitals (5) in Vavuniya District
  • 16 x 30,000 liter RWH system constructed in Schools  in Mannar District

Tharul Ulum Muslim Vidyalayam

Tharanikkulam Ganesh Vidyalayam

Sundarapuram Saraswathy Vidyalayam

Poovarasankulam Maha Vidyalayam

Sithamparapuram Divisional Hospital

Poonthoaddam Maha Vidyalayam

Poovarasankulam Hospital

Puliyankulam Divisional Hospital

Agrabothi Maha Vidyalayam

Earatperiyakulam MOH Office

Mamadu Divisional Hospital

Mahakachchakodi Vidyalayam

Vivekanantha Vidyalayam

Dharmapala Vidyalayam

Ilahadippitty R.C.T.M.S

Adampan Madya Maha Vidyalayam

Al Jassim Maha Vidyalayam

Chilawathurai G.M.M.S

Karadikkuli G.M.M.S

Chilawathurai G.M.M.S.

Karadikkuli G.M.M.S.

Veppankulam G.M.M.S.

St. Xevier’s Boys College

St. Lucia’s Maha Vidyalayam

Parikarikkandal G.T.M.S

Karunkandal R.C.T.M.V

Paalaikkuli G.M.M.S.

Madukkarai G.T.M.S.

St. Anne’s Madya Maha Vidyalayam

10) b. O&M training to school children and staff members in hospitals

36 Operation and maintenance programs were held in 31 schools in Vavuniya and Mannar district and 7 hospitals in Vavuniya district. More than 1,500 students, teachers, parents and staff in hospitals participated.

Poovarasankulam Maha Vidyalayam

Saraswathy Vidyalayam

Barathithasan Vidyalayam

Poovarasankulam Divisional Hospital

Komarasankulam Mahavidyalayam

Dharmapala Vidyalayam

Poonthoaddam Maha Vidyalayam

Sithamparapuram Divisional Hospital

d)  Build capacity of professionals, government officials project managers on planning and designing  and construction of  rainwater harvesting and recharging systems Creating a pool of Masons and Plumbers on construction of 30,000 liter RWH system and recharging System

11. Mason Training

20 mason were trained for 10 days on construction of 30,000 liter Rain water harvesting System from 6-16 th March 2014.

20 Mason training porgram at Mamaduwa held from 6-16th March 2014

12. Training Program to Professionals

Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum (LRWHF), Sri Lanka in partnership with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) New Delhi India organised a 4 day training programmes in “Sustainable Water Management Systems” from 10th – 13th December 2013 at National Institute of Cooperative Development (NICD) Pollogolla, Kandy. The training covered topics such as harvesting rainwater and decentralised wastewater treatment including reuse and recycle which can substantially increase the availability of water in areas where supply is scarce and has also aneconomical and ecological benefit. The participants was given an experience of how waste water treatment unit works at a hotel compound and how water is purified for drinking water at NWSDB treatment plant Katugatota, Kandy. The training was conducted by experts in the field from CSE India  and Sri Lanka.

The training program was organized in support of a tripartite agreement signed between LRWHF, CSE and Ministry of Water Supply & Drainage in August 2010 to facilitate the establishment of Rain Center in Sri Lanka. Training program was attended by 29 professionals, community workers, and project managers from private and public sector. The certificates of the training program were distributed at the closing ceremony on the last day by chairperson of LRWHF Eng. Deva Hapugoda.

Participants at Training program to Professionals, Kandy

e) Reduce the cost of RWH system in order to  increase its affordability

13. Research and Development

An open competition was launched as “Innovative low cost methods and techniques for rainwater storage”.  36 concepts were received by students, engineers and researches. 4 Models were selected and developed.

  • Rice husk – Cement Interlocking Brick Tank by International College of Business & Technology (ICBT Mount Campus), Sri Lanka
  • Cylindrical shaped brick tank with inbuilt Micro Fiber on concrete lid by Mr. M.P. Nilantha Kumara from Janathakshan (GTE) Ltd.
  • UV treated polythene Shallow Rain Water storage tank by Mr. K.D.K.U. Dissanayake
  • Rice Husk – Cement Tank with Bamboo Reinforcement (Cylindrical) By International College of Business & Technology (ICBT Mount Campus), Sri Lanka.

The first Prize winner  “Rice husk – Cement Interlocking Brick” Tank by International College of Business & Technology (ICBT Mount Campus), Sri Lanka won an International award In Korea for their design and they are in the process of applying for patent of their design.

The first prize of the competition was awarded to International College of Business & Technology (ICBT Mount Campus), Sri Lanka for Rice husk – Cement Interlocking Brick Tank  by United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka HE Michele J Sison and Hon Dinesh Gunewardene Minister for Water supply and drainage at the symposium of LRWHF,held on the 5th September 2014.

The Winning Designs

First Prize Rice husk – Cement Interlocking Brick Tank constructed at ICBT Mount Campus

Runners Up prizes: Cylindrical shaped brick tank with inbuilt Micro Fiber on concrete lid by Mr. M.P. Nilantha Kumara from Janathakshan (GTE) Ltd. Constructed at Nikawaratiya , Kurunagala District.

Runners Up prizes: UV treated polythene Shallow Rain Water storage tank by Mr. K.D.K.U. Dissanayake

f) Monitor and evaluate the RWH system constructed by USAID Vavuniya project for its effectiveness on providing clean drinking water source for the community

750 RWH systems constructed during the previous USAID project was visited and evaluated in 15 villages and Operation and Maintenance training was given to beneficiaries.

Plants brought from the nursery center established by previous project was distributed to participants of O&M training program.

O&M Training Programs held

Aachchipuram Village


Aandiyapuliyankulam Vllage

Matheenanagar Village

Pavatkulam Village

Dikwewa Village

Mahakachchakodi Village

Pirapamadu Village

Sriramapuram Village

Sooduventhapulavu Village


Monitoring of RWH Systems Vavuniya District (October 2013 – September 2014)