Strategic Distribution of EDR Units to High CKDu Prevalence Areas of Sri Lanka
Establishment of groundwater treatment facilities within Sri Lanka’s dry zone, the most vulnerable areas of the country for chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) is a strategic collaboration between the Joint Research and Demonstration Center (JRDC) for Water Technology, the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Water Supply & Estate Infrastructure Development (MoWS & EID), Sri Lanka to address water quality challenges in CKDu vulnerable areas. As a result of the joint research between the JRDC and the CAS, Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) technology for hard water purification has been introduced. With a resolute focus on providing safe drinking water, on September 26, 2023, the JRDC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, MoWS & EID, and RCEES of the CAS held a ceremony in Anuradhapura districts in Sri Lanka to donate in-house solar-powered electrodialysis water purification units to 20 families from Medawachchiya and Padaviya to access safe drinking water.
Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology significantly hindered by the high concentration of fluoride and calcium ions in groundwater, remains a major health concern in Sri Lanka. While a centralized Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) facility had been previously established, many families in remote CKDu-prone areas still faced challenges accessing clean water, with some having to travel more than 3 kilometers to the nearest water station. Addressing this, the team led by Yang Min from RCEES developed an in-home solar-powered electrodialysis device and donated 25 sets of it, which consumes 6-20 watts per unit and can produce 5-20 liters of water per hour, effectively removing over 60% of dissolved ions.
The JRDC, alongside the Ministry of Health, identified the most vulnerable communities, ensuring the water quality of the treatment units before distribution. The deployment of these units across CKDu-affected areas aims to tackle water quality challenges and provide cleaner drinking water to vulnerable communities, with maintenance and technical support managed by the JRDC. This initiative encapsulates a shared vision of fostering a healthier and more prosperous future for these communities through collaborative efforts.