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Challege : Rising Demand for Clean Water: Challenges of Kandy's water needs


The expanding population in the Central province of Sri Lanka had far outstripped the threshold that the supply of available potable water could support. Water supply was available only once every week, thus the people of Greater Kandy had to rely on either large water storage tanks to store water or to go to remote wells to collect water. The lack of access to clean water impeded economic growth to Greater Kandy as one of its significant sources of revenue came from the tourism industry. 

It was predicted by the 2001 Sri Lanka census that rapid population growth in the Greater Kandy area was definite, making the augmentation of clean water supply to the area a pressing need for the people. The Sri Lankan government decided to implement a water supply project to increase the clean water supply to the people of Greater Kandy. Mr. PH Sarath Gamini, project director of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) called for a project tender with the following requirements.

Project Summary

Challenges of the water supply project in Greater Kandy:

  • To supply a large volume of treated water to the growing population in Sri Lanka
  • To support with durable pumps that would be functioning without disruptions
  • To monitor and control the process of water treatment over multiple sites in the region

Supply of water to the growing population in Greater Kandy

At the request of the Sri Lankan government, a study was conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to determine the feasibility of increasing the supply of potable water to the Greater Kandy area. The study revealed that a project to augment the supply of potable water had to face up to several engineering challenges. The narrow and meandering roads as well as the harsh state of access lines to service reservoir sites increased the complexity in the construction of pipelines.

The mechanical and electrical engineering component of the project was very important for its success, and we have to select a competent contractor for it

Mr P.H. Sarath Gamini
Project Director, National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB)

Mr P.H. Sarath Gamini, Project Director (NWSDB)

Support with durable pumps that would function without disruptions

In the past, a water treatment plant that was constructed in 1989 mainly supplied clean water to the area. The project was called the Kandy Municipality water supply project.

Apart from the insufficient water capacity provided by the previous water treatment plant, the quality of the pumps were unreliable which caused frequent pipe bursts that disrupted the supply of water to the locals. The presence of sand in the water wore down the pumps, which also led to the bursting of pipes. It was expensive to repair the situation each time a pipe burst occurred, hence an important requirement laid down by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) of the Sri Lankan government was to have the successful project bidder ensure the quality of its pumps. 

The project director of National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB)'s goal was to increase the capacity of water supply to meet the needs of the rising population of Kandy City and of the Greater Kandy area. Upon the completion of the project, it was imperative for the area to have uninterrupted access to clean water supply as that would steer the economic growth of the area through better public health, a more vibrant tourism industry as well as the improved living condition of the locals.

The quality of the previous pump system was not durable, as the sand that had entered the system soon led to its wear and tear.

~ Mr. M. S. Pinto, Chief Engineer,
Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd. (Sri Lanka)

Monitor and control the process of water treatment over multiple sites in the region.

The enormous scale of the project meant that the monitoring of the water treatment process would incur high operating costs. A great number of personnel had to be hired to inspect the site regularly so as to ensure the smooth operation of the treatment process.

Another key requirement that NWSDB had laid out was to have a low operation and maintenance cost upon the project completion. Being able to monitor the status of the water treatment process efficiently was an engineering challenge that the Hitachi engineers had to undertake. They were to design and construct a water treatment supply system using only the most advanced practices. But importantly, there was now promise of clean water for the people of Greater Kandy.

National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB)

Water Supply

Sri Lanka

Release Date:
March 2013

Products & Services:
Water Solution

Solutions By:
Hitachi Plant Technologies (Sri Lanka Branch Office)