- The dam is designed to maintain minimum stream flows downstream, for irrigation and aquatic life.
- The treatment plant can treat up 4 million gallons per day
- This plant meets the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for water quality.
- About 50 km of transmission pipelines and more than 100 km of distribution pipelines are installed under this project.
A new, integrated water supply project led by the US global company Tetra Tech and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) of Sri Lanka, will provide safe drinking water for the first time to 110,000 residents in the Badulla, Haliela and Ella districts of Sri Lanka.
This goal will be achieved not just by state-of-the art design, construction, environmental provision and project financing, but also thanks to a local workforce that has so far put in one million man hours into what is being referred to as “the safest project in Sri Lanka”.
This is because of stringent safety measures and a safety culture woven into the project’s work ethic, which sets it apart as a prototype for future development projects. The 74- million dollar project is funded by the Export-Import Bank (EXIM), of the United States of America and the Government of Sri Lanka, with EXIM approving USD 65 million in US financing. This is the first dam that the NWSDB is building in almost 40 years.
The Badulla, Haliela and Ella Integrated Water Supply Project (BHEIWSP), originates at the new Demodara Dam built by Tetra Tech and partner, the International Construction Consortium (ICC), on the Badulu Oya, 12 kilometers upstream of Badulla city.
Once completed, this dam will create a reservoir for raw water storage. It will also have a spillway built into its structure, so that high flood water discharges can overtop the dam without destroying it.
In addition, the dam is designed to maintain minimum stream flows downstream, for irrigation and aquatic life. The new water treatment plant can treat up to 15,000 m3/day (About 4 million gallons per day) and includes a system for treating and recycling water, along with solid handling and disposal equipment.
This plant meets the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for water quality. Eight storage tanks and pipe pump stations are being built in the project areas. In addition, about 50 km of transmission pipelines and more than 100 km of distribution pipelines are installed under this project. Subasinghe Contractors of Galle are carrying out the pipe laying construction for this project.
The BHEIWSP project start - up began in March 2014, with the first year spent in project design. Work on the project kicked off in May/June 2015.
This is a three-and a-half year project, which is currently running on schedule. Because of its people-friendly orientation and job creation, the BHEIWSP project has been welcomed by local residents.
A special event was held by Tetra Tech in Badulla on May 4, to recognise and award staff and partners, who contributed to achieving the one million man hour milestone. Tham Saravanapavan, Vice President of Tetra Tech said “People are our biggest asset.
When undertaking a project of this nature, there is always the risk of injury. To achieve one million man hours without a single person suffering an injury that kept him or her away from work for a day, is indeed a great achievement.” Tetra Tech and sub-contractor workers face numerous risks on the job, working at heights, on busy roads, in confined spaces like tanks and with heavy equipment and hazardous substances.
Everyone on the project is trained in how to cope with specific situations and to wear the appropriate safety gear.
At the onset of the project this presented a challenge to workers and contractors, but they gradually understood the importance of complying with safety requirements.
A significant development was when even sub-contractors began to follow the safety standards. Paul De Penning, Construction Manager at Tetra Tech said “Safety is our highest priority. Every worker is valued. We urge staff not to be complacent, but to live each moment in the present, be alert, help each other and seize opportunities. Each person is like a piece of a puzzle. If one is missing you do not see the whole picture.”
The chief guests at this event were Professor S.B. Weerakoon, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Peradeniya, and Mrs. Weerakoon.
Speaking at the event, Prof. Weerakoon said that the construction of a project of this magnitude is very complex and sustaining it without serious injury to workers is an achievement.
“This is an example to the construction industry, and is worthy of both international and local recognition”, he said.
Other distinguished guests at the event were Mr. Chula Thenuwara, Director of Projects, ICC, Mr. Subasinghe, Chairman/Managing Director, Subasinghe Contractors and Earth Movers and Mr. Indika Fonseka, Chairman/Managing Director, Ransavi.
Representatives of the Badulla Municipal Council and Divisional Secretaries for the Badulla, Haliela and Ella districts, as well as senior engineers of Tetra Tech and NWSDB were also present.
A detailed presentation on safety measures at Tetra Tech was of great interest to the audience.