Coming out of a long civil war, Every Drop Matters Sri Lankan projects first focused on helping communities gain access to drinking water and sanitation. Later it focused on protecting water resources within the Kelani River Basin.

Woman standing beside a wells near the resettled areas of Kadadkaraichenai and Kumpurupity East in Sri Lanka.Well near tsunami survivors' resettled areas of Kadadkaraichenai and Kumpurupity East in Sri Lanka.

The 26-year long war in Sri Lanka has resulted in many problems for communities located in the northern and eastern districts of the country. The repeated displacement of communities, a lack of livelihood opportunities, scarce community infrastructure and limited public service provisions, impede development.

Working with the local community and in partnership the community based organization Seemasahitha Namal Maliyadewa Gamaneguma Janatha Samagama, the EDM project installed sanitation facilities in 45 households. A piped water network was also created, connecting 145 households to a metered water network.

To ensure that the newly constructed facilities continue functioning long into the future, maintenance training sessions were held for local community members. The project arranged hygiene promotion sessions for households and trained local community leaders to conduct hygiene education programmes themselves.

As a result of the construction of a sanitation facility and the hygiene training sessions, community members no longer defacate in the forest. This reduces the spread of disease, improves health and safety conditions and ultimately prevents adults from mission work and children from missing opportunities to go to school.


  • Created a metered piped water network, connecting 145 households and providing 760 people with improved access to water
  • Installed improved sanitation facilities for 45 households
  • Provided facility maintenance training sessions were held for local community members to ensure sustained functions of installed systems
  • Educated 190 households on proper hygiene and trained local community leaders to replicate training activities
  • Ended the need for and practice of open defecation in the community, reducing health and safety risks and incidence of water-borne disease

Project details

Title: Water and sanitation project in Dalukana Grama Niladhari Division
Implementation period: 
Implementing agency: UNDP Sri Lanka
Location: Polonnaruwa
Budget: 83,472 USD (EDM: 50,000 / Co-financing: 33,472)

The recently resettled areas of Kadadkaraichenai and Kumpurupity East were severely affected by the 2005 tsunami and the prolonged civil war and often lack basic water and sanitation facilities. Drinking water was often collected from poorly maintained dug wells, which is easily contaminated and spread water-borne disease.

The EDM project, together with financial contributions from the local communities, renovated 25 dug wells and 44 toilets and improved conditions at three local schools. It also set up a block casting yard and trained local contractors on eco-friendly community infrastructure construction to capacitate and create new economic opportunities for local people. It further facilitated proper sanitation and hygiene training sessions, led by the Health and Public Health Inspectorate, for all community members and school children.

The rehabilitation of the dug wells has increased the quality of drinking water being consumed. Women now spend less time collecting water, and have access to private toilets. Project partners were also able to leverage additional funding from Brandina Micro Finance Cooperation (a Bangladesh based NGO) to build more toilets in the Kumpurupity, providing communities with critical additional support beyond the EDM project.


  • Renovated 25 dug wells and 44 toilets, serving 46 households
  • Provided sanitation and hygiene training to all community members and school children
  • Set up a block casting yard, enabling new economic opportunities
  • Trained 30 contractors on eco-friendly community infrastructure construction
  • Provided waste bins, composting units, reconditioned furniture and trees and established sanitation task forces at three schools.
  • Renovated a well and overhead water storage tank at one school site

Project details

Title: Improved water and sanitation facilities in Kadadkaraichenai and Kumpurupity East villages, Trincomalee District
Implementation period: 
Implementing agency: UNDP Sri Lanka
Location: Trincomalee
Budget: 83,472 USD (EDM: 50,000 USD / Co-financing: 10,219)

The Kelani River serves as the main source of drinking water to five million people, about 1 in 4 Sri Lankans. Heavy metal pollution in the Kelani River is a serious problem that impacts industrial and agricultural production, and most significantly, poses great risks to the health of those who drink it. Removing the pollutants is challenging and expensive, and prevention is complicated by poor coordination and regulation of key stakeholders, particularly from industry.

This multi-generational project catalyzed action across government, the private sector and local communities to reduce pollution in the river. In its initial phase, it provided new analysis of the priority pollution sources.

Based on these results, new community based hazardous waste collection, recycling and reuse systems were created and engaged with government and private sector stakeholders to actively support water protection initiatives. Waste separation and collection facilities were built along the basin, including a new biogas plant able to convert over 4 000 kg of waste per week. It also fed directly into the national policy implementation, with communities and stakeholders engaged to support National Clean River Programme, contributing to the protection and restoration of all the water bodies of Sri Lanka.

In its second phase and third phases, focus was placed on engaging the general public and policy makers, developing public-private partnerships and delivering appropriate technologies to improve water quantity and water quality.

Ultimately, this led to many concrete contributions to improve planning and water quality in the basin as well as a more enabling environment for decision makers, communities and local stakeholders to take action and improve pollution control in the basin.

Reports done in the project fed directly into the development of the Kelani River Conservation Plan and stimulated a number of additional studies and actions to be taken in the coming years throughout the region.


Phase 1

  • Supported government, local authorities and stakeholders to develop a Pollution Control
  • Network and create community based hazardous waste collection, recycling and reuse systems to address them
  • Improved waste separation and collection in the Kelani River and built a biogas facility that converts 4,000 kg of waste into energy a week
  • Disseminated educational materials to at least 40,000 people and 10,000 students
  • New water storage installed to secure drinking water supply in nine schools
  • Mainstreamed project activities with national policy implementation under the National Clean River Programme

Phase 2

  • Distributed water quality testing kits to schools, educating over 3,400 school children on water science and contamination risks
  • Educated 100 members of selected CBOs on water scarcity, and pollution control and management and integrate it into their work
  • Engaged 2,000 households on pollution issues and the need for appropriate waste management, leading to 100 community members volunteering in the Kelani River Pollution
  • Control Network initiated four community awareness involving 1,000 households in three villages on waste management
  • Conducted waste separation programmes in nine village districts, directly engaging 2,000 community members and school children and increasing collection, recycling and reuse of plastic waste by five tonnes per day
  • Identified pollution sources within the Kelani basin’s Western Province, and developed policy recommendations to reduce pollution loads
  • Informed 120 large industrial businesses and 95 small scale entrepreneurs of low cost waste water treatment technologies that they could apply within their industrial processes.
  • Created a database of direct and indirect pollution sources of the Western Province of the Kelani basin
  • Analyzed industrial water pollution entering the Kelani River and informed national, provincial and local authorities of the Ministry of Environment
  • Supported the development of a national level operationalizing mechanism of the Kelani River Basin Management and Conservation Plan for five years

Phase 3

  • Supported the development of Integrated Environment Solution Plans (IESPs) for 14 local authorities, involving over 1,100 municipal and government officials, to guide local authorities on water management and pollution control.
  • Raised awareness with local authorities on electronic waste and engaged the Central Environment Authority to support action in four areas to collect 6 tonnes of e-waste.
  • Established the Kelani River Conservation network was established, with 85 members and many groups coming together to tackle pollution issues. Through the Network’s work, the Kelani River Protection Network was established.
  • Created new mechanisms to fund pollution prevention actions in Kelani River Basin
    Supported and provided direct inputs into the development of the Kelani River Conservation Plan.
  • Raised awareness with communication materials, including a facebook page and six videos and activities during 2015 World Water Day.
  • Installed a pilot biogas facility in 2015 used to process household waste within the municipality of Kaduwela. This reduces pollution reaching the water course and generates income for local authorities to feed into the national grid.
  • Supplied water storage tanks to 13 selected schools to ensure sufficient water supply and pressure within the system to meet demand at all times

Project details

Title: Empowering communities through water
Implementing agency: UNDP Sri Lanka
Location: Kelani River Basin, Western Sri Lanka
Budget Phase 1:205,500 USD (EDM: 100,000 / Co-financing: 105,000)
Budget Phase 2: 172,300 USD (EDM: 100,000 / Co-financing: 72,300)
Budget Phase 3: 138,715 USD (EDM: 100,000 / Co-financing: 38,715)
Implementation period: 2012-2015

Partners and contributors

  • UNDP Sri Lanka
  • Seemasahitha Namal Maliyadewa
  • Inter Communities Co-existence Development Organization
  • Gamaneguma Janatha Samagama
  • Women Rural Development Society
  • Ministry of Environment and Renewable Sri Energy, Lanka
  • Provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Minor Irrigation and Industries, Colombo
  • UNDP Disaster Management Programme
  • Orange Pvt. Ltd. with Kaduwela Local Authority
  • Central Environment Authority, Sri Lanka
  • Holcim Lanka/Geocycle
  • Help O Green
  • Kaduwela and Seethawakapure authorities
  • Geoclycle and Holcim
  • Orange Ltd and Singer Ltd
  • Expo Lanka
  • Derana Media