The first German – Sri Lankan Water Week

From June 27 to July 1, German Water Partnership (GWP) in cooperation with the Delegation of German Business in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) conducted the first German – Sri Lankan Water Week. In the framework of the Environmental Protection Export Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the project week focused on capacity building and knowledge transfer between German actors in the water sector and Sri Lankan stakeholders in that sector. Due to the current difficult supply situation in the South Asian island nation and the associated severely limited travel options, most of the events were held digitally. However, this did not detract the interest in the broad portfolio of topics from the field of water and wastewater management, both from the Sri Lankan and the German side.

Broad range of topics covered by German experts

The Water Conference at the center of the event week was particularly noteworthy, with around 80 interested participants. For the content GWP organized different experts from Germany, who gave substantiated insights into their fields of expertise in their lectures to the attending decision makers of the public sector and the economy. The topic “Leakage Detection” was covered by Michael Kersting from Hermann Sewerin GmbH; “Stormwater Management and Sponge Cities” was covered by Angeli Büttner, KLIMA.connection; and Frank Braunschweig from Bentley Systems spoke about digital solutions for water networks. Informative presentations were also given by Nishantha Ranatunga, head of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), and Chandima Samarasinghe, head of the water division of DIMO, which already has many years of experience in cooperation between Sri Lankan and German companies.

Networking and knowledge transfer as focus for young professionals

The “Water Gala”, the on-site part of the project week in Colombo, also registered 80 participants despite the difficult circumstances on site. The event made it into the news on ART, the country’s largest English-language broadcaster. At this networking event, representatives from politics and the water industry were able to exchange ideas with the young professionals from the Sri Lankan Water Authority who had been selected in advance. The event week was concluded by a series of different workshop sessions. Conceived and conducted by the GWP experts, the topics of the presentations could be deepened and the knowledge transfer could be consolidated. The field of participants consisted of the selected young professionals of the NWSDB, who were given the opportunity for an in-depth exchange with the experts organized by GWP in a total of six sessions.

Basis for future cooperation

All participants were able to draw a consistently positive conclusion to the events. Especially in the troubled times the country is currently experiencing, it is important for the decision-makers from politics and business to continue to adhere to the plans for a comprehensive expansion of the water and wastewater network. The first German – Sri Lankan Water Week marked the beginning of profound cooperation in numerous areas of the water sector.