Workshop participants with the Hon Jone Usamate, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management & Meteorological Services & Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP’s DVC RII (both with garland).
A two-day seminar on Ecological Purification System (EPS) ended at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at the Laucala Campus on 13 March 2019.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation & International (DVC- RII) welcomed participants and especially acknowledged the Chief Guest, Honourable Jone Usamate, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management & Meteorological Services.
The EPS public seminar was launched by Hon Jone Usamate, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management & Meteorological Services at USP.
He stated that as part of the seminar, JICA will provide an EPS model at USP Laucala Campus, similar to the actual EPS plants that the Fiji Government is providing to the rural villages in Fiji.
The USP EPS plant he said, will be implemented in collaboration with the University and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (Department of Water & Sewerage and the Department of Works), and is expected to contribute many aspects, such as promotion, training for construction and maintenance, demonstration of disaster resilience, potential collaboration with other sectors and/or technologies.
“We look forward to seeing people enjoy “safe and delicious water” from USP EPS plant and realise that it could be an answer for our challenge for SDG6 in Pacific region,” Professor Armstrong stated.
Hon Usamate noted that the seminar marked the completion of the JICA technical cooperation on the Ecological Purification System (EPS) and commended the Government of Japan, especially JICA and USP for hosting the event.
He also paid tribute to Japan’s Dr Nakamoto, who invented the EPS technology and was instrumental in bringing it to Fiji.
“The new EPS technology is designed to make safe drinking water by use of the natural ecological purification process without chemicals. The purification mechanism is based on the biological activity of algae, microbe and microscopic small animals,” he said.
He mentioned that the impurities in raw water are eliminated and are decomposed by biological community which lives in the sand (EPS) tank. The system replicates the natural phenomena or process.
Hon Usamate mentioned that in August, 2011, an officer from his Ministry was given the opportunity to learn about this EPS during a JICA Training on ‘Water Resource Conservation and Management in Island Areas” in Okinawa, Japan. Following the training, his Ministry through the Department of Water and Sewerage (DWS) started research and modelling of the EPS. In 2012 and 2013, the Department successfully implemented two EPS pilot projects in two rural communities namely Kalokolevu Village and Navatuvula Village.
He confirmed that the implementation of community-based EPS projects was made possible by Government’s funding assistance through the Department of Water and Sewerage (DWS). Construction works were undertaken by the Department of Works with technical assistance coming from JICA.
“The Constitution guarantees the right of every Fijian to clean and safe water in adequate quantities, and accessible and adequate sanitation facilities,” he stressed.
He added that to ensure the sustainability of EPS projects, it is important that stakeholder collaboration is coordinated well and further urged all community members to continue to work together for safe and clean water at all times.
Workshop participants were also taken on a field tour to Nakini, Naitasiri, one of the villages where the EPS has successfully been installed and is currently in use.
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