Rainwater Harvesting in a Water Scarce Small Village in Northern Sri Lanka

Rainwater Harvesting in a Water Scarce Small Village in Northern Sri Lanka

Funded by: The Coca Cola Foundation (TCCF)

Implemented by: UN-Habitat

Partners: Rainwater Harvesting Forum of Sri Lanka, Local Governments, Local Authorities, Community Organizations and Communities

Budget: USD 100,000

Locations: A selected GN division in Killinochchi district, Northern Province, Sri Lanka

Duration: 12 months (October 2012 – September 2013)

Project Purpose

Overall, this project will contribute towards creating access to water, introducing sustainable use of water with rainwater harvesting in a water scarce village in Killinochchi district. More specifically, the action actively links with local and national institutions and community organizations to enhance sustainable access to water for domestic needs.


Killinochchi district is located in the central part of the Northern Province falling within the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka where a tropical dry climate is prevalent. The District is one of the most poorly developed in the country.

Killinochchi receives low rainfall throughout the year. Annual rainfall in the district varies from 1250–1500 mm. However, the area experiences heavy rains during the months of October to February, the North East monsoonal season. Villages in Killinochchi have been affected by the 30 year conflict, resulting in damage to infrastructure such as houses, water supply systems, common buildings and schools. A large number of families in these villages have no access to water during the dry season.

Project Description

This project is supporting a community in a selected water scarce village in Killinochchi district in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka to establish rain water harvesting tanks in homes and community buildings in order to conserve and re-use water during the dry season, which severely affects families in the North. The project also encourages ground water recharging at domestic level through community awareness programmes.

The key project output will be the establishment of rain water harvesting tanks and related infrastructure in the village.

Project methodology

The implementation methodology of the project follows a “people’s participatory process” in establishing RWH systems for individual families and in community buildings. The project also aims to provide RWH facilities to selected community buildings such as pre-schools and schools. The key project output is the provision of RWH systems (e.g. gutters, downpipes and plastic tanks) and ground water recharging facilities to families who do not have access to safe drinking water during the dry season. The establishment of the RWH systems will be by the home owners themselves, with technical assistance from UN-Habitat field staff. Hence there will be a contribution of labour by the families towards the initiative.

The families are being trained on the establishment, use and maintenance of the RWH systems and ground water recharge. The sustainability of the project will be ensured by training community leaders in CBOs and the divisional and village level administration that will monitor the utilization of the RWH units and provide necessary advisory/technical support on maintenance to families.

Project Activities

  • Conduct a baseline survey of the identified village in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
  • Conduct awareness programmes on rainwater harvesting and ground water recharge and establish working committees in the village.
  • Network with local and national partners working on rain water harvesting issues.
  • Training of artisans and community leaders on rain water harvesting methods.
  • Awareness raising and training of communities on ground water recharge activities (e.g. Digging of trenches across home gardens)
  • Construction of recharging systems and rainwater harvesting tanks.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.