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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Watergy in Sri Lanka

Alliance to Save Energy - Promoting Energy Efficiency World Wide: Watergy in Sri Lanka: The Alliance has applied its Watergy™ concept to the work in Sri Lanka as it develops responses to municipal energy efficiency challenges, placing particular emphasis upon opportunities within the water and wastewater sectors and street lighting areas. This effort is centered on partnerships with the City of Colombo, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), and the Sri Lanka Energy Managers Association (SLEMA). In the early stages of work this initiative has developed several pilot studies focused on demonstrating the steps that municipalities can take as they seek to develop methodical approaches for applying energy efficiency to the provision of municipal services.

Saving Energy—Increasing Access to Water

Sri Lanka requires locally developed models that can be used to increase understanding about how to effectively manage energy used for pumping, treating and distributing water. Presently the country’s water management body is experiencing a significant increase in electricity billing combined with an approximately 45 percent rate of unaccounted for water. Some of the energy challenges faced by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), overseeing water distribution to Colombo, include monthly energy consumption of 5.2 million kWh and a corresponding monthly bill of Rs. 45 million (US$ 466,000).
With Alliance to Save Energy, US Asia Environmental Partnership, and United States Agency for International Development (USAEP/USAID) support, NWSDB has taken steps to improve energy efficiency in the Sri Lankan town of Kantale, steps that have led to energy savings of 45 percent and increased water service from one hour a day to uninterrupted access. One of the major water consumers in the area, an important temple in this region, echoed support for the NWSDB’s work:

The Alliance and USAEP/ USAID began working with NWSDB in late 2001. NWSDB is Sri Lanka’s national water and wastewater utility responsible for providing these services across the country. NWSDB was supported by the Alliance with help from the Sri Lankan Energy Manager’s Association (SLEMA), which performed an energy audit of the main water pumping station supplying water to Colombo’s 2 million residents. Ready to take on new efficiency projects, and bolstered by the innovation of the “watergy” approach, NWSDB engineers sought out applications in other parts of the country. The country continues to work towards a lasting peace after over 20 years of conflict and improved access to water will play a big part in the country’s reconstruction.
The Kantale water system was built in 1984 when it was among the country’s state of the art facilities, having a daily capacity of 36,000 cubic meters providing water to over 480,000 in Trincomalee, in the northeastern region of the country. Expansion of the system in the eighties and nineties led to less than optimal operating conditions, increases in electricity consumption, and a reduction in water provided to local residents. Understanding the opportunities for improving the system’s pumping operations, including pump replacements and installation of variable speed drives, engineers were able to install decommissioned pumps from other systems, pumps that more closely matched system head and maximal operating requirements. Since these upgrades were put in place in early 2003, NWSDB has reported monthly savings of over fifteen thousand dollars, at a total project cost of twelve thousand dollars.

Continuing Support for Watergy Work in Sri Lanka

The Alliance / USAEP / USAID continue to support NWSDB’s effort to provide improved service to customers and reduce energy consumption of water operations. Based on this partnership and demonstrated results, NWSDB is putting into place an energy and water efficiency cell that will take efficiency to all corners of the utility’s operations. Powerful opportunities to factor efficiency into new projects exist thanks to the flow of donor funding supporting the rebuilding process. As part of this effort Alliance staff recently meet with NWSDB staff involved in the planning of new water projects for five municipalities supported by a sixty million dollar Asian Development Bank project. By considering efficiency opportunities from the start of these projects, NWSDB can reach many more Sri Lankans in need of water, at a lower cost to the country’s people.
For more information on this activity contact Felicia Ruiz, Senior Program Manager, fruiz@ase.org

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