Media Focus


CMEC-built Waterworks Receives Good Responses in Sri Lanka

Release time:2018-12-07 Article source:People's Daily Reporter Reading times: A+AA-
The Kurunegala Water Supply and Sewerage Project in Sri Lanka was completed in August 2018. It is the first water supply and sewage treatment project in Sri Lanka and the first large-scale integrated water project outside Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. The project, undertaken by CMEC, is another important measure move by China to help Sri Lanka improve its people's livelihood and one of the latest achievements of China and Sri Lanka building the Belt and Road Initiative.
Medawart, Project Manager of Sri Lanka's National Water Supply and Pipeline Committee, said that the project can supply water to the city’s three districts with an average daily sewage treatment capacity of 5,000 cubic meters, which can meet the 24-hour demand for safe drinking water for 71,000 people. The project also built 110 km of water distribution pipeline and 138 km of sewage collection pipeline. “The project is of great significance in benefiting the people’s livelihood, which embodies the important friendly cooperation between Sri Lanka and China,” Medawart said.
“The project has greatly reduced urban pollution and improved the environment for foreign investment.”
Kurunegala, the capital city of Sri Lanka’s North Western Province, is located 70km north of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. As one of Sri Lanka’s transport hubs, it has five expressways in the vicinity of the circle-shaped bus station sitting at the center of the city. The newly-built waterworks is located halfway up the Elephant Hill in Kurunegala.
Pi Yanyao, Deputy Manager of CMEC’s water supply and sewage treatment project, said that the lake in the city was originally an alternate water source, but the lake was so polluted that it could not be used due to the direct discharge of wastewater from residents into the lake. Over the past 20 years, with the increasing commercial activities and industrial development, the urban population has been increasing. However, due to the lack of adequate drinking water supply and a safe wastewater pipeline system, the urban environment had deteriorated sharply, with frequent outbreaks of diarrhea and diseases related to drinking water safety.
Supported by the Chinese government, Kurunegala’s long-lasting trouble was relieved finally. Pi Yanyao told reporters that the new water plant project was provided with preferential loans by the Export-Import Bank of China. The completion of the project has enabled the average daily treatment capacity of the city’s sewage treatment plant to reach 4,500 cubic meters, and that the average daily treatment capacity of the new water plant and the expanded water supply network can amount to 5,000 cubic meters and the sewage discharge here has fully met international standards.
The Chinese company also built Sri Lanka’s first leading water treatment laboratory in the wastewater treatment plant. Reporters saw in the laboratory of the wastewater treatment plant that water samples before and after the completion of the water plant were kept in the test tubes, showing a clear difference of limpidity.
Talking about the importance of this project to the city, Thusara, mayor of Kurunegala, raised his thumb, “Thanks to China’s support, we finally have an advanced waterworks.” Mr. Thusara said that the project saved a lot of government expenses, including up to 20 million rupees (1 US dollar equals about 160 rupees) a year for collecting waste water and cleaning septic tanks. “The project has greatly reduced urban pollution, improved the environment for bringing in foreign capital, and helped attract foreign investment.”
“The Water plant benefit the public and the water quality of local groundwater and lakes has also been greatly improved.”
Vashata is a 38-year-old senior engineer. There is a well in front of his yard. Vashata told the reporter, “Before the new waterworks is completed, the family all drink water from this well. Due to the shortage of tap water supply and unstable water pressure in urban areas, water is supplied in turn by district every day, and families without water need to use their wells. The previous tap water tasted astringent, the water quality was turbid, and there were still many particles that could only be used to flush toilets, water flowers, and wash cars. Drinking and cooking all depend on bottled water.”
“It's all right now. Water is supplied 24 hours a day and the water pressure is stable. The tap water is clean, has no peculiar smell, and can be drunk directly.” Vashata took a drink of tap water from the kitchen. He said, “I have three children and I have a great demand for purified water. After the completion of the water plant, the basic need of the whole family for water has been fully met, with the price unchanged. Thank you, China! We finally drink clean tap water.”
When mentioning the water supply project, Medawart moved a bunch of documents from his office. He said that the project is divided into three parts, namely a waterworks, a sewage treatment plant, and an overflow weir. The waterworks produces 5,000 cubic meters of purified water per day. Coupled with the existing capacity of 9,000 cubic meters, a total of 14,000 cubic meters of tap water can basically meet the needs of the city. “The water plant benefits the public, and the water quality of local groundwater and lakes has also been greatly improved,” Medawart said.
“We have learned advanced tap water and wastewater treatment technologies in the construction of the project.”
When the water plant was completed and put into use, the Atana Waterworks, Sri Lanka’s largest single water plant, undertaken by CMEC, have been under construction. It will solve the problem of 600,000 people getting access to clean drinking water in 42 villages.
Sujeewa, Chief Engineer who joined the Kurunegala Water Supply and Sewerage Plant Project in 2014, told the reporter, “This is a rare opportunity for us to learn advanced water and sewage treatment technologies in the construction of the project.”
In August 2018, Sri Lanka’s then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the completion of the project has solved major livelihood concerns, improved people’s living and health level, and will promote local economic and social development and help to build Kurunegala into an international metropolis like Colombo.
Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan told the reporter that China and Sri Lanka are good friends, good neighbors, and good partners. Now, China and Sri Lanka join hands to build the Belt and Road Initiative, which achieves phased results. The project is of great significance in benefiting the people’s livelihood, which embodies the important friendly cooperation between China and Sri Lanka. The water plant has not only improved the living standards of the citizens but also injected vitality into Sri Lanka's economic and social sustainable development.
(Report from Colombo)  

A laboratory member of sewage treatment plant shows the purity difference before and after tap water treatment.

  Photo by Yuan Jirong

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