You might not think twice as you reach for a glass and pour some drinkable water out of your kitchen tap into it. Unfortunately, 2.2 billion people around the globe still struggle to reach and consume safe, drinkable water.
However, let's not delve into a conversation about how unfair this situation is, as an NGO may have found a positive solution. The NGO, GivePower, installed and still runs a solar-powered desalination plant in Kenya since August 2018. It transforms salt water into drinkable water.
35,000 people a day can now benefit from this fresh and clean water, dramatically improving the lives of many.
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GivePower's Solar Water Farm in Kenya
The team at GivePower decided to build their Solar Water Farm in Kiunga, on the Eastern Coast of Kenya, situated by the Indian Ocean. The region has suffered extreme drought for many years, and the 3,500 inhabitants of Kiunga village have not had access to clean drinking water.
Drinking contaminated water can lead to debilitating waterborne illnesses and diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Moreover, it should be a basic human right to have access to potable water.
GivePower is on a mission to provide drinking water to people around the world. The main issue is that many water plants cost a lot to run, however, solar panels may help solve this issue. Hence GivePower's decision to look for alternative methods of providing drinkable water sources.
Turning seawater into drinkable water is a power-consuming and therefore expensive process. So using solar energy for this process may be the long-term solution we've all been waiting for.
GivePower's Solar Water Farm harvests solar energy using its solar panels. These are able to produce 50 kilowatts of energy and power two water pumps that run 24 hours a day. Saline water is then safely turned into potable water.
Before their solar farm installation, the people of Kiunga sometimes had to travel up to one hour each way a day just to get enough drinking water. Because each and every drop of water is so precious to them, families and village members usually bathed and washed their clothes in salty water — something that is very harsh on the skin.
Furthermore, many people had to drink untreated water from wells, which left them regularly ill.
GivePower's solution has enabled 35,000 people a day to have access to clean water through their Kiunga Solar Water Farm project. It's a huge step forward for humanity and solar energy usage.