Water is life! Developing sanitation for Jaffna people and the economy [fr]
AFD (French Development Agency) conducted an appraisal mission from April 8th to 12th, 2019 on the Jaffna Sanitation Project (JSP). The main objective of the mission was to complete the project appraisal process in view of AFD tentative approval, forecasted in September 2019, for the contemplated financial assistance of up to EUR 123 million.
The project aims at improving the living conditions of about 80 000 residents of Jaffna City, protecting the environment and supporting the agricultural and tourism sectors by providing a sanitation system. The project will also enhance the financial sustainability of the Sri Lankan water and sanitation sector by supporting the development of the water services regulation, which covers areas such as tarification and drinking water regular quality tests.
The moat around Jaffna Fort
Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province. Jaffna peninsula’s economy suffered greatly from the Civil War, having experienced destruction of infrastructure, improper infrastructures maintenance, low investments, as well as the collapse of primary economic activities such as agriculture and fishing.
Due to its peninsular location and arid climate, supplying water in Jaffna is particularly challenging. Groundwater, the main water resource, is terribly polluted due to the lack of an adapted sanitation system. Furthermore, the area’s existing water distribution system is inefficient, making poor quality water available for just two hours a day to about 20% of the population. This leads to major consequences on public health: dysentery cases are six times more common in Jaffna District than in the rest of the province.
In this context, AFD is currently appraising the Jaffna Sanitation Project, which will provide a sanitation system for Jaffna City and surroundings and benefit about 80 000 people. This project will work in tandem with a project supported by the Asian Development Bank towards ensuring quality water production and distribution to 60 000 households by 2021.
The National Water Supply and Drainage Board, NWSDB, will be in charge of implementing the Jaffna Sanitation Project activities. The Project will ultimately provide access to sewerage services to approximately 20,000 households, as well as schools, universities, hospitals, health centers. The project will also support selected low-income households in connecting their internal plumbing to the sewerage network. Households within selected areas not covered by the sewerage network will see their on-site sanitation facilities improved.
Land for treated wastewater reuse
With an estimated total commitment of EUR 154 million, this project will include the construction of a wastewater treatment plant with an estimated capacity of 13,300 m3/day (equivalent to 3.5 Olympic swimming pools), about 200 km of sewers and 25 pumping stations. It will also set up sewerage connections for all premises within the network coverage area, a distribution system of treated wastewater in irrigation areas, and a disposal system for excess treated wastewater. The first construction work is expected to start in 2021.
In order to enhance the expected positive impacts, the project will also include information, education and communication campaigns to promote sanitation and hygiene, and farmers in selected areas will be trained to reuse treated wastewater for irrigation. Further, staff of the NWSDB will be trained and supported during the first months of infrastructure operation. In parallel, the project will develop propositions for the implementation of the national water service regulation, which seeks to enhance the financial sustainability of the Sri Lankan water and sanitation sector.
A EUR 11.2 million grant has been requested by AFD to the European Union to finance part of the Project costs. The tentative approval from the EU Board is expected in December this year.
Today, in Sri Lanka, more than 3 million inhabitants live less than a kilometre away from the coast, and less than 1% of the population is connected to a wastewater treatment system. In this context, developing the sanitation sector is key for public health, and for economic, social and environmental reasons. The Government of Sri Lanka aims at achieving a service coverage rate of 7% by 2020 and has requested AFD’s support to develop this sector, new to Sri Lanka and the NWSDB. AFD, as one of the main donors in the urban sanitation sector in Sri Lanka, supports the government’s ambitions and finances the sanitation infrastructures that are needed in selected cities.