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Barrier to be built at Kethhena to prevent seawater from mixing with drinking water

(File Photo)

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has ordered officials to accelerate the planning and construction of the barrier to prevent seawater from mixing with drinking water at Kethhena in the Kalutara district, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

 The project is estimated to cost Rs. 3 billion.

 According to the spokesman, Minister Senaratne had ordered relevant officials to plan the project as soon as possible and to complete the construction work within a period of three years.

 Instructions were also given to officials to take measures to prevent flood damage.

 Around 135,000 consumers receive drinking water from the Kethhena water supply scheme in the Kalutara district and over 60,000 consumers are facing difficulties without drinking water for the past six months.

This is due to salt (sea) water getting mixed with drinking water through the estuary of Kalu River, the Minister said.

 Water Supply Board provided drinking water for the affected people during the first five months of this year because they did not have fresh drinking water due to the issue.

 The barrier to be constructed stretches to 4.5 kilometres above the estuary of Kalu River, he added.