Most households in the districts of Sri Lanka affected by the tsunami possessed drinking water wells, and these wells were contaminated by debris, sludge and saltwater. Once the wells were cleaned, only time and the onset of monsoon rains could reduce the levels of salinity - but local people continued to need information and reassurance about the quality of their water supplies.
Effect of well cleaning and pumping on groundwater quality of a tsunami-affected coastal aquifer in eastern Sri Lanka
Changes in water quality of a sand aquifer on the east coast of Sri Lanka due to the 26 December 2004 tsunami and subsequent remediation attempt by pumping were investigated. Two transects, disturbed (where pumping of groundwater took place) and undisturbed (where no pumping occurred), were monitored. In the undisturbed area, the average electrical conductivity (EC) in the wells affected by the tsunami showed a decrease from 3000 to 1200 μS/cm after the first full rainy season following the disaster; however, in the disturbed area the average EC stabilized around 1500 μS/cm.