“Nowadays everybody has access to water supplied by the Government, even people living in rural areas. Before the situation was much worse: water had to be drawn from wells. Now water comes from the mountains and it is good,” says Apop, who lives in the Kandy district in Sir Lanka.
In the early 1980s, most of the people living in the district collected their drinking water from the village wells, which increased diseases and child mortality. Hygiene was poor and farming suffered. Thanks to a project funded by Finland in the 1980s and 1990s, nearly half of the villages in the district were connected to a water supply. A total of 11 water supply systems together with water tanks and reservoirs, and 12,000 toilets, were built in the area. People were educated about the importance of clean water to their health. A new administrative building and laboratory were built for the water authorities in the area.
Finnish and Sri Lankan experts made a water use plan. As a result, the first comprehensive inventory of water reserves was carried out in the country. Experts also drew up plans for funding investments. This model has served as an example for water management in other parts of Sri Lanka. After 30 years, the people in the district still benefit from the project, and the project has helped the area to meet the growing need for water.
Read more about the results of the project (in Finnish)
Photo: Esa Salminen, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta