The Sri Lankan government is moving ahead with its plans to produce desalinated water, issuing a request for qualifications on one project, and an invitation for bids on another.

A request for qualifications was issued by the National Water Supply & Drainage Board for a seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant, known as Weliwita Bulk Water Supply Project. It will be a public-private partnership on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer model.

Companies are invited initially to participate in the pre-qualification stage, and qualified applicants will then be eligible to bid for the project. An investor conference is scheduled for 9 January 2017, and the deadline for applications is 20 February 2017.

The national water agency also invited bids for Jaffna Kilinochichi Water Supply and Sanitation Project, covering design, procurement, construction, installation, and operation and maintenance, of a seawater reverse osmosis plant, pipelines, a pumping station, and service facilities.

Sri Lanka received a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) toward the estimated $60 million cost of the Jaffna Kilinochchi project, and has applied to ADB for additional finance. The agency invited sealed bids on the basis of International Competitive Bidding on Single Stage Two Envelope (ICB/1S-2E). A pre-bid meeting will be held on 17 March 2017, and the deadline for bids is 2 May 2017.

A desalination plant for Sri Lanka was first mooted in 2015, when the Asian Development Bank agreed to consider a loan.