The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

JK Foundation provides clean drinking water through rainwater harvesting


Twenty households and three community centres in the village of Mangalagama situated in the Ampara District of the Eastern Province were the first recipients of rainwater harvesting tanks under John Keells Foundation’s latest sustainability related initiative.
Rainwater is the most pure form of water. If collected and stored properly, it can be used for all domestic purposes including drinking. Collection of rainwater is an effective method of reducing the problem of water shortage in areas where good quality fresh surface water or groundwater is lacking, the company said.

Mangalagama was selected as the site for the project launch based on its association with the Foundation’s Village Adoption Project whilst also serving as a supplier of cashew to Ceylon Cold Stores. A technical feasibility commissioned in the village confirmed that the village suffered from a severe water scarcity and that the majority of its population of 750 families who were farmers and Samurdhi holders had no permanent income throughout the year. Hence this village was found to have the need, suitability and feasibility to be provided rainwater harvesting facilities.

“The recipients are grateful to John Keells Foundation, and people are fully committed to taking care of tanks given to them,” said G.G. Ajith, Secretary of Sri Magalarama Temple Society and chief village coordinator of the initiative.

Speaking at the ceremony, S. Sirisena, Principal of Mangalarama Maha Vidyalaya, said “I thank John Keells Foundation for the support given throughout the years in helping to rebuild our community which was severely affected by the ethnic conflict. This CSR initiative of John Keells Foundation helps in solving a very pressing issue faced by the community: scarcity of water during the dry season. There have been instances where I have personally gone looking for drinking water for the students of my school.”

One of the recipients of a domestic rain water harvesting unit is A.N. Siriyawathie, a 45-year old single woman who had lost her entire family except a younger brother during terrorist attacks on the village. The rain water harvesting tank will enable Ms Siriyawathie to become more independent as she hopes to start a new farming venture: mushroom cultivation.

“So many people have come here and heard my story, but this is the first time I have received something tangible. There are no words to describe what a blessing this tank is for me. I will look after this gift as if it was my life,” she said.

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