Project summary

Impact Engineers is a humanitarian engineering student group who are changing lives through community-driven projects. Among these was the successful completion of a water filtration plant which provided accessible and clean drinking water for two villages in Sri Lanka.
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Impact Engineer’s first project Pathuma was born through the realisation of the prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Aetiology (CKDu) and motivated by the need to empower communities in Sri Lanka affected by CKDu. It involved the implementation of a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water treatment plant in Galwaduwagama, a rural village in North Central Sri Lanka.

For the purpose of maintaining contact, collecting operational data and expenditure from Pathuma, the team also developed a data collection mobile application named Sanya. Sanya is currently used by the RO plant operator at Galwaduwagama and is also being trialled at similar RO plants across Sri Lanka, through a start-up formed by the Impact members who first developed the app. 

A community-based organisation called Dilena Tharu was also established to manage the facility and reinvest profits into local projects and businesses. To further help Dilena Tharu achieve economic prosperity, a 12-month education program was initiated with local partners at the University of Peradeniya and Sathi Pasala Foundation, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, entrepreneurship and business development.

Project outcomes

Since the water filtration plant opened, it has the capacity to deliver 10,000 litres of clean water per day to more than 600 families and the daily operations have created three jobs in the village, with a projected annual income of about $30,000.  

All profits are reinvested in the villages and there’s an educational component to ensure they are building capacity for the villages' future success.


Galwaduwagama, Sri Lanka

Population of 21 million

18-hour journey from UNSW, Sydney

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Project duration

2017 - 2019

United Nations Development Goals

SDG 2: Zero Hunger
SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth