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How to cope with the dry season in Sri Lanka


Do you know what this photo is about?

This pot, made by cement, is a rainwater-harvesting tank that is used in Sri Lanka. We don’t see such pots in Japan, but it is used to save rainwater during the dry season. The size varies from 5,000 liters to 30,000 liters. The shape of the pots also varies, from pots like the pumpkin-shape pot in the photo, to pots that are either half or fully buried in the ground.

Saved water in the rainwater-harvesting tank is used every day for drinking and washing and can also be used for agriculture.

In Sri Lanka, people used to save rainwater in an artificial reservoir maintained from long ago. However, people have recently begun using tanks like this at their homes. Now, tens of thousands of tanks are used mainly in agricultural areas.

The tank saves rainwater through a downpipe from a roof. It provides water for families even when they face water shortages during the dry season. It may be low technology, but we can describe it as a revolution.

Sri Lanka may be famous for being a country with a lot of rain, however, the annual precipitation in the northern area of the country is only 1,200 mm, which is less than the annual precipitation recorded in Tokyo. Therefore, water storage and water-saving measures are a matter of life and death for people living in this region.

You may be concerned about drinking rainwater, but the air in rural areas is clean. Hence, the rainwater is not contaminated with pollution and causes no problem for use in everyday life. Depending on the family, some people do choose to chlorinate the collected rainwater.

The rainwater-harvesting tank has many advantages including, for example, providing accessibility to safe water during the dry season and assisting with preventing flooding during the rainy season. However, it also has certain disadvantages, such as the expensive construction fee, making it difficult to obtain the tank for low-income households in rural areas. The government provides subsidies to assist in solving such issues, but they still need to promote it.

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June 23, 2016 in Sri Lanka |