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With the construction of the aquaponics facility in Sri Lanka, we strive to make a sustainable contribution to the development of the region and to offer new perspectives for resource-saving agriculture through innovative technology.

A. Appler from Engineers Without Borders (EWB)Write a message

Background information 
Without the western world giving Sri Lanka much recognition, its citizens fought a merciless civil war for more than two decades, which ended just a few years ago in 2009. 
The northern and eastern regions of the island  were heavily affected by the consequences of the war, and the majority of the population in these regions is still struggling with poverty. Most of the families there still depend on agriculture as their main source of income. Heat and drought, however, make this hardly profitable. As a consequence of the seasonal conditions, which allow only few different vegetables to be cultivated, the population of that region  is malnourished.  With our Lankaponics project we would like to give these people an access to a more balanced diet and counteract poverty by creating new job opportunities. 

Aquaponic: An innovative farming strategy
Aquaponics is a system, which combines fish farming and vegetable cultivation within a continuous water cycle. This process is able to save up to 80% compared to the amount of water used in traditional farming, where excess water flows into the ground and gets lost. The system consists of the following major components: fish tanks, grow beds and a filtration  system.  The  fish contaminates  the  water  with  their  excretions. These excretions and other solids are separated  from the water through a mechanical filtration system. Subsequently, a biological filtration system, consisting of microbacteria, promotes the conversion of ammonia and ammonium, which are part of the excretions, to nitrate. Now the water serves as a fertilizer for the plants in the grow beds. The plants absorb the nutrients  and thereby clean the water and make it usable for the fish again. This completes the water cycle. 

Our partners and supporters
The project is a joint project between Engineers Without Borders – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (EWB) and Dr. Janaka Kosgolla, who accompanies the project in the long run. He is part of the organisation Engineers Without Borders Sri Lanka (EWBSL), which has already supported us successfully in previous projects. 

The building site
From April until October 2018 a part of our team was in Padiyatalawa and worked on the implementation of our project. In spite of adverse bad weather conditions and always new technical challenges, we were able to complete the deep well and the greenhouse, in which our plant from is protected against external influences. In parallel to the constructional implementation, we worked intensively on an operating concept and the foundation of the social enterprise.

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