Field visit to Sarnia Estate in Badulla, Sri Lanka

Unprotected and contaminated water source in Dotland division, Sarnia Estate

Members of the Inclusive Urban Infrastructure (IUI) team in Sri Lanka made a two-day visit to Sarnia Estate (Badulla District) on 29 and 30 September to assess water infrastructure in the area, as part of the project’s Systems of Provision (SoP) approach.

The team met the Regional General Manager of Sarnia Estate, a representative of Malwatte Valley Plantations PLC, and briefed him on the scope of the project and the hope for a water-related intervention. Thereafter, the group went to see the sources of water in the Mahatenna and Dotland divisions of Sarnia with the Estate’s Welfare Officer and others involved in the distribution of water.

Natural springs are the common sources of water to the Estate community, which are then distributed through tanks, tubes and pipes. The team observed that some of these systems are contaminated, unclean or in poor condition, and lack proper management and maintenance. The visiting team also had conversations with some residents and various officials involved in water provision to different community sub-divisions.

Discussion with residents of Mahatenna division, Sarnia Estate

A small function was arranged by Estate residents on the last day of the visit, to receive 60 chairs from IUI partner the Centre for Migration Research & Development (CMRD). These were requested by the community and provided to it as a gift for community members’ participation in project surveys. Thirty chairs were provided to each of the Funeral Welfare Societies of Mahatenna and Dotland; they were officially received by the office bearers of the Societies. 

CMRD and SEVANATHA (the non-academic Sri Lankan partner for the IUI project) hope to hold a workshop for the residents and officials in the near future. The purpose of the workshop will be to co-design a water service intervention that can be implemented with the support of the Estate management.

Ranjith Samarasinghe (Vice President), Udeni Chularathna (Executive Director), Ranjan Perera (Engineer) and Piumi Rathnayake (Research Officer) participated in the field visit on behalf of SEVANATHA, and Mohideen M. Alikhan (Research Consultant), Sakeena Alikhan (Researcher & GIS/Mapping Specialist) and Abdhullah Azam (Project Manager) participated on behalf of CMRD.