Managing Aquifer Recharge technology addressing water shortages in Sri Lanka

Site visit to the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka

The Australian Water Partnership (AWP) is supporting Water Technology Pty Ltd to investigate Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) opportunities in Sri Lanka to address water shortages and provide reliable water sources for surrounding communities.

The MAR project is supporting the Water Resources Board (WRB) of the Sri Lankan Government to identify and investigate the hydrogeology of areas that suffer from water shortages. The World Bank’s Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project (WaSSIP) has also requested support for Kilinochchi.

With potable water becoming scarcer, improving water quality through MAR technology could subsequently reduce the occurrence of widespread problems, possibly including chronic kidney disease.

Water Technology’s Senior Groundwater Engineer Craig Flavel has been on mission in Sri Lanka, where he attended a project inception meeting for Kilinochchi with representatives from the World Bank, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, and the WRB.

Project inception meeting in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka (Craig Flavel pictured top right)

Project inception meeting in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka (Craig Flavel pictured top right)

During the meeting, Mr Flavel presented a summary of pre-feasibility technical work to summarise Water Technology’s findings over the past year. After gathering comprehensive data and undertaking in-situ investigations, sampling and surveys, the work identified two conceptual MAR designs for the application of MAR feasibility studies.

The first, a 130,000 m3/year aquifer storage and recovery scheme in the limestone aquifer in Puttalam, has the potential to provide 12,000 people with potable water; while the second site in the Vavuniya area may be suitable for a subsurface dam project that could serve approximately 4,000 people. The potential schemes would require different technologies and skills.

Tank well sampling in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka

Tank well sampling in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka

Mr Flavel recommended that stakeholder considerations are important to include in any future feasibility study for a MAR trial.

“A successful MAR scheme must incorporate feedback from the community and the scheme operators at the detailed design phase. Large areas of Sri Lanka appear technically suitable for MAR at various scales,” says Mr Flavel.

“The positive outcome from this project enables stakeholder engagement and investigations during detailed MAR trial design.”

The draft technical report demonstrates technical workflows and presents information and conceptual MAR trial technologies that could be utilised by the WRB.

Following the submission of a final technical report, it is anticipated that next steps would see MAR trials implemented to evaluate on-ground performance before a full roll-out commences.

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