Sustainable Desalination by Means of WaterPyramids

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One of the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN is to reduce the number of people that don’t have access to safe drinking water. MWH is dedicated to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals. With these WaterPyramids, the access to clean drinking water in developing countries will increase.

    Location: EVD/Partners for Water, Community of Pemana
    Region: Asia Pacific
    Market Sector: Water & Wastewater
    Status: Complete
    Scarcity of sweet, potable water is a growing problem in large parts of the world. Desalination could be an answer but is usually expensive and cannot be sustained. The WaterPyramids on Pemana apply appropriate sustainable technology to process clean drinking water from saline ground water / sea water. Most of the energy needed to purify the water is obtained from the sun.

    This project is a cooperation between the inventor of the WaterPyramid (institutionalised in the company AAWS), the Indonesian Foundation Yayasan Dian Desa (Light of the desa), the community of Pemana and MWH. The WaterPyramid received the World Bank Development Marketplace Award 2006 for small scale water innovations. The WaterPyramids on Pemana are the first ones using sea water. MWH was responsible for the site selection and feasibility study, the preparation, design and coordination of the building process of the WaterPyramid and its institutional development.

    Apart from purifying saline water by means of evaporation/ condensation, the WaterPyramid harvests large amounts of rainwater, which can be used as an additional source of drinking water.  The project not only produces drinking water, but also generates income for the people of Pemana as they are responsible for the operation and maintenance. Hence WaterPyramids generates employment and stimulates entrepreneurship for and social welfare.  The community becomes self-reliant in their water supply and the local economy is stimulated.

    The radical part of this project is that it uses hi-tech measures to reach a low cost solution that is easy to maintain. The operating costs related to energy and employment are low: energy from the sun is free, the building materials are to be purchased locally and the workforce used can be locally recruited. Sustainable desalination using solar energy is a unique concept, reduces the use of fossil fuels redundant and applicable in rural, tropical areas that are difficult to reach.

    After completion, MWH transferred the WaterPyramids Yayasan Dian Desa and the local community who form a local entity, fully responsible for the operation and maintenance of the WaterPyramids. The WaterPyramids are monitored closely and the concept of the WaterPyramids is constantly being improved to increase the production rate.

    By demonstrating the feasibility and applicability of the WaterPyramids in rural areas, we raise the interest of local organisations, local governments, Donors, Aid Agencies.

    The prototypes of the WaterPyramid are relatively expensive.  When produced on a large scale in Asia, the costs will drop. Nevertheless the costs per litre are less than water transported from Flores. By demonstrating the concept throughout the world we generate a demand for it: seeing is believing. The construction of the WaterPyramids is also an example of Building a Better World.

    • Selection of Location and Indonesian Counterparts
    • Feasibility Study: physical conditions, need, demand, willingness and ability to pay
    • Institutional set up water production facility
    • Facilitation of the production of two WaterPyramids in The Netherlands and transport to Pemana
    • Guidance of the construction of civil works and starting up of the water production
    • Training of operators: operation, maintenance and administration Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Tasting the first liters of desalinated sea water

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