Today, World Water Day 2019, marks the launch of our upcoming project, which provides 3000 people with drinking water in Madagascar, one of the least developed countries in the world. The inhabitants of Efoetsy, a village located on the dry south-western coast of Madagascar, depend on salty and contaminated water for drinking water, which in some cases takes three hours to collect. The only alternative drinking water for these people is relatively expensive bottled water. These circumstances make securing clean drinking water a daily challenge that leads to avoidable, and sometimes fatal, diseases. A new partnership between EWF and a local NGO will address this problem in a sustainable and innovative way and is launching the project today on World Water Day 2019. Get familiar with the project in the video below.
Today, two thirds of the world’s population – or 4 billion people – are struggling with the effects of water scarcity. This is in part due to global population growth, a growing water footprint and climate change. It is often less developed countries that already suffer from the consequences of insufficient or polluted water. These countries are increasingly dependent on transporting water from far or applying expensive, energy-intensive water treatment to guarantee enough water for their population, a major challenge for less developed regions.
However, there is hope. When Sid Vollebregt, water engineer and chairman of the Foundation, was traveling in Madagascar, he saw the impact of water scarcity on local communities. While floating in the sea on his surfboard, he realized that the key to increased access to clean water must lie in the unlimited resources of the the sun and sea. When seawater is can be converted into freshwater (desalination) by only using solar energy, it is possible to solve freshwater scarcity in remote coastal areas in a sustainable and innovative way. This experience has become the origin of the Elemental Water Foundation. It’s the mission of the Elemental Water Foundation to tackle water scarcity for the least developed on a global scale using the unlimited resources of the sea and sun.
Efoetsy was chosen as the first project location – and not without good reason. The remote village of Efoetsy is located on the dry south-western coast of Madagascar and receives less than 200mm of rain per year. The 3000 people who live in and around the village live in extreme poverty and survive by farming, fishing and picking fruit and vegetables. However, this lifestyle is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain due to the decreasing availability of fresh water. Women and children spend up to 3 hours to provide water for their families. However, the collected surface or groundwater is salty and polluted, leading to illness and school dropout. The only safe drinking water source is bottled water that is transported from far away to Efoetsy, which is often too expensive for the locals. Due to Efoetsy’s isolated location, the salty groundwater in the surrounding area and the limited rainfall, solar desalination is an appropriate and sustainable solution for water scarcity reigning in the village.
In cooperation with the local community of Efoetsy, a local NGO with 20 years of experience in Madagascar, the Feedback Company, Elemental Water Makers, the Global Shapers Community of Amsterdam and JCI Volcke Rack Moerdijk, the Foundation will work hard to realize this drinking water project that will lead to 15,000 litres of clean and sustainable water produced per day in Efoetsy. The solar-driven desalination solution will run entirely on the power of solar energy and trained local water entrepreneurs, who sell water at an affordable price and maintain the water installation. On March 22, World Water Day, the Elemental Water Foundation would like to call attention to this important challenge and invites you to become involved in this special project.