Minister of Water Supply Vasudeva Nanayakkara (left) and Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Charge d’affaires Hu Wei after signing a Supplementary Agreement to the MoU on water research and technology cooperation
Sri Lanka and China on Wednesday took fresh moves to further strengthen mutual cooperation on water technology.
Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Charge d’affaires Hu Wei and Minister of Water Supply Vasudeva Nanayakkara have signed a Supplementary Agreement to the MoU on water research and technology cooperation, on behalf of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Ministry of Water Supply of Sri Lanka respectively.
It is a follow-up to the importance consensus reached by Communist Party of China Politburo member Yang Jiechi with both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on water supply and technology cooperation between the two countries, during the recent high-level visit.
The original MoU was inked in March 2015, mainly aiming to tackle chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu), and provide clean drinking water for CKDu prevalence areas in Sri Lanka. According to the MoU, a state-of-the-art Joint Research and Demonstration Center for Water Technology (JRDC) was established recently in the University of Peradeniya campus in Kandy, with a total construction area of 5000 m2, under the Chinese grant of over RMB 124 million (Rs. 3.4 billion). In the next 5 years, the Chinese Academy of Sciences will keep funding the cooperation of the JRDC with RMB 6-8 million (Rs. I65-220 million) per year.
The Chinese Embassy in a statement said, more significantly, three groundwater purification demonstration projects and more than 20 rainwater harvesting devices have been built in the CKDu affected areas in Sri Lanka to provide high-quality drinking water to more than 4,000 villagers and 1,300 primary school students. Besides that, during the past five years, 66 water and medical professionals took part in training programs by the CAS, and currently 53 Sri Lankan graduate students (including 19 Ph.D students) are studying in the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS).
Ministry of Water Supply Secretary Dr.(Eng.) Priyath B. Wickrama and Ministry of Water Supply Additional Secretary A.C.M. Nafeel, Health Ministry National Coordinator of Renal Diseases and Prevention Unit Dr. Asanga Ranasinghe, University of Peradeniya Vice Chancellor Prof. Upul B. Dissanayake and Project Director of China-Sri Lanka Research Grant Project Dr. S K Weragoda, were present at the signing ceremony.