Desalination Project launched on Uripiv Island

By Peace Corps Vanuatu
Oct. 12, 2018

One of the biggest celebrations that ever took place on Uripiv island was during the launching of a Desalination Water project on September 14, 2018.

Anyone who has been to Uripiv will know that their water options are very limited. For the most part, no one thought that Uripiv was ever going to have a water project as such.

Uripiv Mama's with lei's
Mamas welcome guests at the ceremony with lei’s.

Although the island has had water tank projects in the past, due to population growth, the water tank capacity was not sufficient to supply everybody on the island. Hence, during the dry season, people would resort to drinking dirty brackish water from the ground well which triggered a lot of gastro-intestinal diseases.

Very briefly on how the system works, a well was dug about 3 meters inland and water was piped from the well into the Dispensary where they dedicated a room for the desalination plant set up. Sea water is then piped into the desalination machine that separates the salt from water, then it goes into 2 filters which gets piped back into another tank ready for consumption. Waste sea water returns back into the sea. 

PCV Andre and Desalination plant
Desalination plant on Uripiv

Thanks to Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) Andre and Mr. Jones, a US mission volunteer living on the island, both worked hand in hand to secure funding for this project. Funding came from the Uripiv community, US Small Project Assistance (SPA), V2Life (a German organization), and Brad Jones. Not to mention, additional efforts came from Mork Water, who facilitated the plant installation and the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) group who provided manpower.

The desalination plant was from a company based in Perth, Australia called Mork Water. According to the company, the installed plant on Uripiv is considered a medium sized project. Meaning it is able to generate 230 liters of water per hour. That is to say, approximately 5,600 liters of fresh drinking water every day. 

The Mork Water engineer who was also present for the opening ceremony, helped not only to install the system but also trained three men in the community on maintenance and up-keep (something often overlooked in most projects in Vanuatu). All three men who were trained received their certificates at the opening ceremony

Andre and desalination plant
PCV Andre inside the desalination plant room

Ms. Fredlyn Nako, Peace Corps Small Grants Coordinator, during her speech, congratulated the people of Uripiv not only on accomplishing this desalination water project, but also on the successful launch of two Small Project Assistance (SPA) projects within a year of each other. She continued also to remind the families of the importance of the sustainability of the project. “It was good to see the community begin fundraising for the maintenance of the water project” said Fredlyn.

In her closing remarks, Fredlyn said “It was such a great project, although it may look very sophisticated to many but knowing that there are trained men in the village who are able to maintain the system, to me is a bonus”. Thanks to Andre and Mr. Jones, Uripiv will have enough safe drinking water for everyone – Water is life!