A renewed hopes to a small port town in Kenya last year when they introduced a solar-powered plant that transforms salty ocean water into fresh drinking water.
As we sit here, day after day, scrolling through our laptops and phones, it’s easy to forget just how fortunate we are. While the internet thrives on regular doses of poverty porn, our empathy towards the millions across the world living without necessities rarely extends beyond a few shares and likes. However, some made it their life mission to provide every individual access to essentials such as clean water, food, and shelter. The efforts of a few such good samaritans gave renewed hope to a small port town in Kenya last year when they installed a solar-powered plant that transforms salty ocean water into fresh drinking water.
Launched in 2013 as a nonprofit branch of the Tesla subsidiary Solar City, a team of engineers, developers, and clean energy thought leaders who aim to “design, build and deploy renewable energy systems that provide food, water, and light to those who need it most.” Last year, the nonprofit installed a first of its kind solar-powered desalination system in the small fishing community of Kiunga. The facility produces enough fresh drinking water for 35,000 people every single day, an incomparable boon to the village that had been suffering extreme drought for many years.
Located just a few miles south of the Somalian border, Kiunga is home to about 3500 people who’d been forced to use dirty sea and brackish saltwater since the drought-hit in 2014. Having little to no access to clean drinking water, they’d had no choice to quench their thirst with this same contaminated water even though doing so put them at the risk of kidney failure. Fortunately, the village’s proximity to the Indian Ocean made it an ideal candidate for the world’s first GivePower Solar Water Farm.
Although the nonprofit mostly focuses on building solar-energy systems to provide electricity to one and all, they wanted to do something for the countless girls forced to give up their education to walk miles every day to fetch water for their families. “So we thought the next thing would be to bring the water to them. That’s where this idea came from. Could we provide the most affordable, healthy, sustainable water? And at scale?” Barnard revealed.
A promotional video about the GivePower Solar Water Farm gives a harrowing insight into Kiunga’s plight before the facility became functional. “It was a dire situation for this community. Children walking around the community with wounds- lesions on their body from washing clothes in saltwater,” said Barnard. According to the GivePower website, the nonprofit’s “Solar Water Farm is a breakthrough blueprint solution for coastal areas struggling with water scarcity. With advanced filtration systems and new solar-powered desalination technology, GivePower is converting sea and brackish saltwater into clean and healthy water.”
“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 water farm produces a higher quality of water over a longer time with no negative environmental impact,” it states. An update posted on Instagram in April this year revealed that since the opening of the solar water farm, children in the village had experienced health benefits of switching to clean water. This project is undeniably a huge step for humanity.