From L-R: Mr Taitusi Vakadravuyaca, Permanent Secretary, MITDMMS; Ms Yukari Ono, JICA Resident Representative; and Professor Pal Ahluwalia, VC&P USP welcomed following the handover of the EPS.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) handed over the Ecological Purification System (EPS) to The University of the South Pacific (USP) in an official ceremony at the Laucala Campus on 8 July 2019.
This is a collaboration between USP, JICA, Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services (MITDMMS) and the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) for the purpose of installing and operating an EPS at the Laucala Campus.
Invented by Professor Nobutada Nakamoto, the EPS is designed to make a germ free safe drinking water by wise use of natural ecological process without chemicals. It is a naturally purifying system which aids in the treatment of raw water for the production of clean and safe drinking water for communities.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP welcomed Ms Yukari Ono, JICA Resident Representative; Mr Taitusi Vakadravuyaca, Permanent Secretary, MITDMMS; development partners, government ministries and non-governmental organisations to the event.
He said USP not only benefits from a sustainable, free and safe drinking water source, but is happy to be part of a valued partnership to promote this technology that is very relevant and important for Pacific Communities.
“The EPS facility stands as a small demonstration, thanks to JICA, MoIT and WAF, of USPs commitment to sustainability, which will go a long way to benefit communities providing access to clean drinking water,” he added.
According to Professor Ahluwalia, USP has already committed to reducing its impact on the environment by banning the purchase of plastic bottled water and this installation adds to that commitment to sustainability by providing a healthy alternative water source.
“This partnership shows JICA’s commitment to USP and the region and enhancing the capacity of students and staff towards sustainable water practices in the Pacific,” he said.
He conveyed USP’s appreciation to the Government of Japan for their generous assistance to USP and the region over the years, including WAF and MITDMMS for the support in this project.
On behalf of the Fiji Government, Mr Vakadravuyaca, PS MITDMMS, conveyed his gratitude to the Government and the people of Japan as implementation of EPS projects in Fiji such as this one were only made possible through the technical assistance and support from JICA.
“Government has set an ambitious target in its National Development Plan for all Fijians to have 100% access to clean and safe drinking water by 2021. Currently 85 per cent has been achieved thus far,” he noted.
He said the challenge is to provide this basic necessity to those that are living in the periphery and these are areas where EPS projects have been implemented.
“The handing over of this EPS project to USP is a step forward in promoting this system at the regional level and will provide an opportunity for Pacific academics and students here in the University to study the concept and could implement in their own respective countries,” he said.
He hoped that USP will take further steps in promoting this system as it is proved to be workable in Fiji providing clean water to our rural communities.
Ms Ono, JICA Resident Representative, noted that it took a lot of effort to finalise agreement on this project and conveyed her heartfelt appreciation to all those involved in its implementation.
She noted that the EPS implemented in Fiji is unique such as the use of multiple tanks for purification that is adaptive for rural community-based water supply. The extra EPS facilities provided by the Fiji Government to rural communities, she said, differs according to its location and surrounding environment.
“The EPS at USP may not exactly be the same as those in the rural areas but I hope it should start as a model case in construction, water quality as well as monitoring and maintenance aspect. This model has been implemented in collaboration with USP and MITDMMS 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, etc,” she said.
EPS is designed to make drinking water save by using a natural ecological purification process without chemicals. The purification mechanism is based on the biological activity of algae, microbes and microscopic small animals.
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