Installation of an efficient model of water management and novel home garden system at the Delft Island

Drip irrigated school vegetable garden

Drip irrigated school vegetable garden © Kumudini EKARATNE


1. Installation of a model rain water harvesting system for vegetable cultivation (at the school)

2. Drip irrigation system for sand-bag based vegetable garden and introduction of drought resistant plants

3. Establishment of a novel home garden system


The Delft Island is the second largest island in Sri Lanka, located approximately 10km away from the mainland and 46km away from Jaffna city. The major problem on Delft Island is the availability of safe and sustainable water, which is the major hindrance for the island development. The main issue with the available aquifer is the high salinity, which is not suitable for drinking and also for vegetable plantation.

The drinking water is currently provided from a village called Sarapittiya to the entire Delft Island for drinking and plantation purposes. There are concerns that continuous usage of water will deplete the aquifer available in Sarapittiya and will put the population in a vulnerable position. The water and drainage board recently installed a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification plant by investing 56 million that is obtained from the Asian Development Bank, but the plant is yet to start its full function. Reverse osmosis is an avenue to get safe drinking water, but the sustainability of the plant is questionable, especially in low-middle income countries such as Sri Lanka.

This project aims to address a proper water management system for vegetable plantation. Delft Island receives 750mm annual rainfall, which occurs mainly in April and November. Delft Island has numerous newly built administrative buildings with guttering systems; the use of those facilities will allow the rain water harvest at a low cost, by modifying the guttering structure. Farmers on Delft Island are using traditional watering system that wastes a large amount of water.

The project also intends to introducing a drip irrigation system and other water management systems on Delft Island, as well as empowering school students and farmers with advanced techniques training, to get maximum vegetable harvesting with the hope that they will introduce water management system to the rest of the community.

Target beneficiaries

217 school children, staff and identified families in Delft South Farmers community


  1. Rain water harvesting system implemented in Delft Maha Vidyalayam
  2. A model vegetable garden implemented in Delft MahaVidyalayam

Accomplishments and challenges

- A drip irrigation system installed to use the harvested rain water

- Four water tanks with combined capacity of 15,000 liters installed with necessary piping and gutters for rainwater harvesting

- 10m X 20m vegetable garden with 180 plants (capsicum, tomato, brinjals and chillies) established

- Transport between the Jaffna Penisula and Delft Island was one of the major constraints: boat services cancellation and adverse weather conditions.

- Lack of resources, including human resources are limited on Delft Island.

- Due to the long-lasting poverty, the Delft Island population naturally tend to look for short term goals.

- Lack of project management: no guidance and supervision on the Island

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

Climate change:
Delft island receives about 80% of its rainfall from the North East monsoon. Therefore, the rain water harvesting and the drip irrigation systems introduced to the school will address the likely impacts of climate change to a certain extent.

Gender integration:
Both men and women benefitted from the project.

Lessons Learned

  1. The school vegetable garden has been implemented but it is out of bounds for the school children. This situation won’t help them learning from the school garden.
  2. The Grantee was requested to work with the Delft Society which originally proposed the farmer field component. However, there has been no engagement with the Society, and this will affect the initiative sustainability.
  3. The construction and maintenance of the rain water harvesting system appear to be flawed, and may require inputs from a competent Engineer.

Project Facts



Delft Island



1st Mar 2016 to 28th Feb 2017

Implementing Partner

Jaffna Science Association
Mr Pratheesh Maheswaran
Project Lead
TP: 0772 726 459.

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