The Pacific islands region contains more water than anywhere else on earth. So why do we continue to face such immense challenges ensuring a clean and copious supply of water?
Senior governmental and corporate figures in the region gathered to discuss the high-level issues this week at the Warwick Le Lagon. While they talked, an exposition ran next door, showcasing the latest business and technological responses to making water safe and plentiful.
One of the star attractions was a ‘suitcase’ portable water plant. The truth is that it’s not the kind of thing you can carry to the village unassisted, but it’s still a fascinating bit of technology. Perth-based Moerk Water Solutions showcased a solar-powered desalination system that they claim can produce up to 30 litres of fresh water every hour. The entire system packs into a pair of large metal boxes, requiring four strong people to carry.
At least one of these systems has already been deployed to Minister Ralph Regenvanu’s home island of Uripiv.
Technology has advanced in water quality testing, too. Companies demonstrated on-the-spot testing equipment capable of providing important measurements that would allow villages and utilities to closely monitor communal water sources. They also showed off remote sensing equipment that ensure that measure chlorine levels in the water system. This is essential to maintaining public health.
Chlorine is used in concentration when drinking water is initially treated. It’s the industry-standard way to kill microbes and other undesirable microbes.
Small-scale sewage treatment systems were also on display, as were a number of companies with a long-standing local presence, including ProLink and ENGIE Services.
Representatives made the most of the opportunity to tout their solutions to decision-makers from across the Pacific islands.