GALLERY OF EVENTS - Water Supply and Distribution, etc 2007


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Extracts from Master Plan of Mahen Ranasinghe, Sr. Vice President OBA prepared in May-2007

1. Introduction

A Task Force for S.Thomas’ College Gurutalawa was formed by His Lordship Rev. Duleep De Chickera in February 2007 for the revival of the College. At the second Meeting of this task force, held on March 7, 2007, Mr. Jacques Huyghebaert, appointed to manage the affairs of the College and the Acting Headmaster, outlined the marketing plan for absorbing students, through advertising.

The Senior Vice President of the OBA explained that making up the numbers alone would not be enough and it was important to improve discipline and the standard of English, along with the hostel facilities and the infrastructure and developing sports, to hold back the students, as it had been found that in the past, students left as soon as they found better schools. To meet the short and medium term requirement of funds, he proposed that the College farm be developed on a commercial basis with the help of the OBA and a Master Plan prepared to cover all development.

The following is a combination of facts and proposals for the development of the College to bring it back to its old glory.

Water Supply and Distribution

Shortage of water during dry season has always been a problem at College. The largest well near Keble was damaged by a fallen tree and it was reconstructed in 2004 by the OBA. There are 8 other wells, some now abandoned, supplying water to various quarters. A deep well was drilled by the Water Board, courtesy of an Old Boy, a Deputy Minister in charge of the particular Department in 2003. It is however known that the deep well was not drilled to the proposed depth due to bad coordination by the College staff during the construction of the well, resulting in the well not giving the expected output. The water supply is still inadequate and the expected increase in student numbers will further increase the demand.

The solution is to increase the yield of the existing wells by horizontal drilling, in which case the well near Keble and the one below the squash courts could be utilized. The other alternative is to provide additional deep wells and to harvest rain water, as proposed below.

The supply from the Water Board is available at two points to supply water to some staff quarters and this should be used to supplement or as standby.

The distribution system has been modified from its original system of supplying from various wells to various areas, to a network of interconnecting pipes provided by make-shift plumbers, to meet the immediate needs as they arose. There have been many leaky points in the system due to unsuitable work done.

The whole distribution system needs to be redesigned, taking into account, the enhanced supplies. The existing service tanks and header tanks made of brick are in a poor state, requiring regular repairs. The construction of a central tank or a water tower of adequate capacity is a must.

Water Treatment Plant

The water from the wells is extremely turbid, especially during wet weather and is currently supplied without any treatment. It is important to test the water and purify, if necessary.

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool equipment is over 50 yrs old and the system is primitive with manual dosing of chemicals. A total refurbishment of the swimming pool and machinery is necessary to meet the required standards.

Sewage Treatment Plant

With nearly 500 persons concentrated in a small area, conditions are ideal to provide a small sewage treatment plant at College. The resulting sludge could be used as fertilizer and the final effluent for the vegetables, a huge saving of water at a time the whole world is faced with a shortage of water. The topography is ideally suited to provide a sewage treatment plant with minimum costs. College can boast of another first, once this is provided.

Rain Harvesting

Again STC Gurutalawa can be a first, in introducing rain harvesting. With all buildings at high level rain water can easily be collected very economically and directed to the proposed water treatment plant. Even without treatment it may be used in the farm or as make-up water for the swimming pool. Another first for College.


This Master Plan is a combination of facts and recommendations for development of a wide and unique range of facilities, linked to the improvement in discipline and English. Once it is implemented S.Thomas’ College Gurutalawa can boast to be the only school in the country, if not the world, to have such facilities and utilities, providing education and experience, no other school can provide. Only a brief description is given under each item at this stage. Acceptance in principle by the Board of Governors to develop the farm and the Cooperative stores is now required, to proceed to the next step of preparing a feasibility report and to raise the necessary funds, for the proposed work.


Images of the Old Wells which are situated on the same level as the paddy fields and the vegetable plots, can be seen. Due to suspected contamination the use of water from these wells has been suspended. Water is now being drawn from the Tube Well donated through the generous assistance of an Old Boy, Mr.Lakshman Seneviratne, at the time he was a Minister. The well is sited within the Keble complex. 1'' dia. PVC pipe has been laid from that well to two large Service Tanks on the bank between Junior Dormitories and Boralanda Road, near the bridge and the former Rifle Range. We understand that water is being pumped for almost 10 hours of the day and the distance involved is approximately 500 metres. Mahen can be seen with Jacques Huyghebaert inspecting the tanks and the piping etc.

An Old Tank situated above Boralanda Road, directly above the Service Tanks, collects spring water from Gonagala and had been in use for the farm prior to its gift by the De Saram’s to S. Thomas’. It is constructed in perfectly cut rubble in 1939 and appears to be in very good condition, except that there is a large beehive behind the metal door, which has to be got rid of before entering the tank for detail inspection and cleaning. It is full of water and it is the intention to recommission the tank to supplement the water supply from the tube well. Mahen and Jacques Huyghebaert are seen on their way passing the 9 km post on the road just above College to inspect this Tank and the Old Piping .