ComBank donates 5000-litre water storage tanks to 50 families at CKDu risk

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has donated 5,000-litre water storage tanks to 50 families in Ginnoruwa, Girandurukotte, as part of the Bank’s continuing support to an initiative to help combat the spread of Chronic Kidney Disease of an unknown origin (CKDu).

Designed for the storage of rainwater, the tanks can supply the drinking and cooking water needs of each family for up to six months, protecting them from the harmful impurities in the ground water in the area, the Bank said.

The donation is the latest phase in the ‘Raindrops’ project supported by Commercial Bank since 2016. The project comprised of research into the effectiveness of rainwater as an alternative to ground water in areas where there is a high incidence of kidney disease attributed to poor quality of water.

In the first phase of the project, 25 families that received storage tanks from Commercial Bank consumed harvested rainwater for more than one year, after which they were tested for CKDu and the results compared with those of 25 families that consumed well water during that period. An effort was made to ensure that other variables, such as living conditions, food habits and eating patterns of all 50 families remained the same.

The findings of the study showed that while several persons from the group that consumed well water were diagnosed with Stage 1 CKDu, none of those that consumed rainwater showed signs of the disease, and that the GFR levels of a few kidney patients that used rainwater had, in fact, improved.

In the second phase, Commercial Bank commissioned a scientific analysis of the suitability of rainwater for drinking by the Nutrition Department of Wayamba University, which conducted in-depth research into the water quality, pH value, electrical conductivity and other properties of harvested rainwater to determine the viability of promoting this source of water on a mass scale in areas reporting a high incidence of the dreaded disease.

Observing the success of the Raindrops Project, the Centre for Education, Research and Training on Kidney Diseases (CERTKiD) of the University of Peradeniya, noted the importance of providing 5000-litre storage tanks to all families in the Ginnoruwa area, in response to which Commercial Bank donated another 50 5,000-litre tanks.

It has been estimated that a family of five would need 20 litres of water per day for drinking and cooking purposes, and that a storage structure with the standard eco-friendly features capable of holding 5,000 litres of rainwater would be adequate to last approximately six months to tide over the dry months – May to September – in areas such as Girandurukotte (Mahaweli System C) which receive an annual rainfall of 1200-1500 mm.

The Bank said the provision of rainwater harvesting tanks to CKDu prone areas, can help save a significant amount of money spent by the state healthcare system on dialysis facilities for those afflicted with CKDu.

The management of the Raindrops Project has been entrusted to ETC Lanka, a member of the not-for-profit organisation ETC International Group based in Leusden, Netherlands.

Commercial Bank is the largest private sector bank in Sri Lanka and the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World. The Bank operates a strategically-located network of branches and 964 automated machines island-wide and is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector. Commercial Bank has the widest international footprint among Sri Lankan Banks, with 20 outlets in Bangladesh, a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake in the Maldives.

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