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Water independence for Daru island, Papua New Guinea

Autor: Sarah Hofer

A solar powered power plant reduces high costs of diesel fuel and carbon footprint.
Picture: Atlantean Media Ltd

25. May 2023 | A solar powered power plant reduces high costs of diesel fuel and carbon footprint. This water treatment plant helps Daru Island, Papua New Guinea, achieve water self-sufficiency.

A small island in the South Fly District of Western Province Papua New Guinea is benefitting from a renewable powered project that is now providing clean, potable water to its residents.

The island imported its water from the mainland

With a population of about 20,000 residents, the island of Daru previously imported its water from a diesel-powered pumping station located on the mainland. The expensive supply resulted in an unreliable source, often leaving the island stranded with no available potable water for months during each year.

Lacking water independence and facing potential fuel shortages and other logistic challenges, the island needed a solution to provide a reliable clean water supply for communities and agricultural development.

Water project that combines clean water supply and renewable energy

The PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) and Innovative Agro Industry (IAI), an affiliate of the international development company, LR Group, partnered with ROTEC to deliver a water project that combines renewable energy and clean water supply to Daru island.

Water supply was also required for the Fly Agro-Industrial Centre, established by PNGSDP and IAI. The centre includes a modern vanilla farm and aqua-culture creating jobs and revenue generating opportunities for the local communities.

Completion in record time of 2 months

The 100 m­3/hour turnkey water treatment plant was commissioned in a record two months, despite facing challenging logistics, including delivering materials and equipment to a remote Island. The plant treats brackish water from boreholes to provide Daru’s inhabitants with nearly two million liters of high-quality drinking water per day.

Linking to a neighbouring solar array including local battery storage capability, the project eliminated the high pumping costs associated with diesel fuel usage for water production, using renewable energy via a photovoltaic (PV) solar farm.

Using near-zero chemicals in the process

Using the innovative Flow Reversal Reverse Osmosis (FR-RO) technology, the Daru project delivers high water recovery rates of between 80-90%, while using near-zero chemicals in the process – minimizing impact on the marine environment. Low quality groundwater is handled by the FR-RO process, providing self-cleaning while maintaining stability.

Boaz Shitzer, CEO of ROTEC, said: “Daru was facing a big challenge around water stability and safety. Together with PNGSDP and IAI, we overcame logistical challenges during construction to create a sustainable and very resilient water supply for both the local communities and agriculture development, on the remote island. We hope this can serve as a model for bringing local, clean, and resilient drinking water infrastructure and operation to other remote and developing communities around the world.”

Following success in Daru, LR Group, IAI and ROTEC are now pursuing together joint projects, combining water, agriculture and wastewater across Africa, Asia and Australasia.





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