Stagnant Waters, Damaged Drains

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The more rundown parts of Colombo are often characterized by broken roadside drains, and at times, drains containing stagnant water that is often green, grey or blackish in colour. Kotahena is one such division in Colombo where such sights can be come across frequently. Due to this observation, a Right to Information (RTI) application was used to request relevant facts from the Colombo Municipal Council.

When asked how often the drainage is checked in the Kotahena West area, the reply was that there is no programme for the routine checking of drainage due to a lack of resources. Instead, drainage seems to be checked only when complaints are received.

According to the CMC, certain causes of water stagnation (in roadside drains) have been identified. These are:

1) Blockages due to the dumping of solid waste into drains

2) Encroachment by tree roots

3) Drains being covered at entrances to premises in the wrong way

4) Settlement due to roadside sinkage

5) Damages/encroachment by other utility providers such as providers of electricity, water and telecom services

6) Changes that occur naturally (ex: decay, weakening, increase in roughness) and insufficient funds for reconstruction

7) Unauthorized construction and encroachment by people


The RTI application also asked about the procedure followed by the Colombo Municipal Council to remove and prevent stagnant water in roadside drains. The CMC responded that the steps taken to prevent water stagnation include the cleaning of drains either manually or with the use of special machines and tools, reconstruction of drains, the issuing of notices and removal of unauthorized constructions, and also actions taken to educate people through area MMC’s.


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