Afar Ethiopia Reverse Osmosis Project
Saint Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MoC) Center in Ethiopia has a branch located in Semera, the capital of the Afar Region. The Center serves the poor, destitute, and disabled from all over the region and operates a kindergarten school for 60 students. The Center has a population of approximately 150 patients in a given day. This desert region gets very little rainfall and most of the year experiences very high temperatures approaching 120 degrees. There is a well on the property but the water is unfit for consumption due to high levels of salts and minerals that surpass the allowable limits established by the World Health Organization. The old water purification and sanitation system had been inoperable for over a year and needed to be replaced with a functional, simple-to-operate system. Our new innovative RAW system allows the Center to distribute clean purified drinking water to the community once again.
The water treatment plant
The solution was to construct a small treatment plant that consisted of a 20” tall building with water cooling towers on the roof and inside.
There is a combination of solar and wind turbine power to power a reverse osmosis (RO) system to remove 98% of the salts from the water. The system had to include cooling tanks because the groundwater coming from the well is too hot for the RO system. After two days of cooling the water is sent to the treatment system which includes a prefiltration unit, reverse osmosis membranes and UV light to complete the treatment and sanitation process for storage in tanks and final distribution.
Before we installed this plant the sisters had almost no drinkable water. They were constantly hand-boiling water to trap the steam just to have enough water to survive. Now there is 3x more water than their current needs and we have committed to inspecting and maintaining the system for years to come.
Sister Marela speaking about Afar Reverse Osmosis Project
WiLi proposed a reverse osmosis (RO) system to remove 98% of the salts from the water. The system includes cooling tanks because the groundwater coming from the well is too hot for the RO system. After two days of cooling the water is sent to the treatment system which includes a prefiltration unit, reverse osmosis membranes and UV light to complete the treatment process for storage in tanks and final distribution.
Desalination unit: This unit has its own high pressure pump and a set of three RO membranes. This is the main unit that removes salt from the water and has a mechanism to pump permeate (clean water) to the UV-unit for sterilization and brine for disposal.. The RO unit produces 300 l/hr or about 80 gallons per hour of clean water.
UV unit: UV water purification is a method that has proven itself for years and due to rising demand is becoming more popular for producing germ-free water without the use of chemicals. The water coming out of the membranes will pass through the UV-unit to produce bacteria free water. The ultra-clean water passed through UV-unit will be stored in 10,000 liter capacity overhead fiber glass tanks for drinking purposes.
Training– Training in the operation and maintenance of the system was given to three members of staff at Semera. The trained personnel will operate the desalination unit and report to WiLi if anything happens. The supplier is also under a one-year contract to conduct four scheduled maintenance visits four times a year.
Thank you for changing the lives of so many of the most vulnerable people in the Afar Region of Ethiopia!