As we scroll through our laptops and smartphones, it has become so easy for us to forget the privileges we get to enjoy in our daily lives. We have access to education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities. We always have food on the table and clean water to drink. All these things we have in abundance, and because of that, it has become something that we usually take for granted.
Unfortunately, for around 2.2 billion people in the world, that is not the case.
There are people in the globe who don’t have access to basic necessities such as water. While it makes up 70% of the planet, the challenge lies in turning salty ocean water into fresh drinking water through environment-friendly and sustainable means.
Luckily, a non-profit branch of the Tesla subsidiary Solar City, Give Power, took action to accomplish just that. A team of engineers, developers, and thought leaders came together with one mission – to “design, build and deploy renewable energy systems that provide food, water, and light to those who need it most.”
Last year, they did so by installing a first of its kind solar-powered desalination system in Kiunga, a small town in Kenya. The process of turning salt water into drinking water is extremely power-consuming and therefore expensive.
The use of solar-energy for desalination is a more sustainable option that can provide a long-term solution. Through the use of solar panels to harvest energy, the “solar water farm” is able to produce 50 kilowatts of energy and run two water pumps 24 hours a day.
“Each solar water farm produces enough fresh drinking water for 35,000 people every single day. Compared to most ground well systems, the GivePower solar power farm produces a higher quality of water over a longer period of time with no negative environmental impact,” they wrote.
The fishing community of Kiunga is composed of 3,500 individuals who are forced to travel for more than an hour just to collect water – and it’s not even clean.
The only source available came from a well found on the same channel that animals use to bathe. Water taken from there is full of pollutants and parasites that are potentially harmful and disease-causing.
“You see children inside of these villages, and they’ve got these scars on their stomachs or their knees because they got so much salt in their wounds. They were basically poisoning their families with this water,” said Hayes Barnard, president of GivePower, in an institutional video.
Regions such as sub-Saharan Africa are facing a much bigger water problem, which is why the Kenyan village of Kiunga was chosen as the location for this plant. Fortunately, Kiunga is also located near the Indian Ocean, making it the perfect candidate for the world’s first GivePower Solar Water Farm.
Because of the success of the solar power farm, GivePower is looking into expanding its solar power farm operations in Colombia and Haiti.
This a big step forward for humanity! Hopefully, more organizations will take part in an initiative like this, for it could pave the way for the whole world to gain access to clean and safe water.