Wind and sun for clean drinking water

Interview opportunity

Bonn/Eschborn. For many people Zanzibar is a true holiday paradise – with beach huts beneath the palm trees and white sandy beaches bordering the turquoise ocean. But even if this jewel in the Indian Ocean is surrounded by water, on the island itself, clean drinking water is a scarce commodity. In fact, it often has to be imported from the Tanzanian mainland. And for many people, particularly those living in rural areas or on the many small islands throughout the Zanzibar Archipelago, expensive imported drinking water is unaffordable. For this reason, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is improving the supply of drinking water on the island group in collaboration with Mörk Water Solutions. A medium-sized enterprise based at Leonberg in Baden-Württemberg, Mörk Water Solutions has developed a desalination plant that produces drinking water from filtered seawater. The plant is operated using solar and wind power. GIZ is helping the company to adapt the technology to local circumstances. As a development partnership with the private sector, the project is part of the develoPPP.de programme and commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

An initial desalination facility is already supplying clean drinking water to inhabitants of the small village of Chwaka on Zanzibar’s eastern seaboard. In the interest of long-term sustainability, GIZ and Mörk Water Solutions developed the operating model for the plant jointly with the villagers and the Zanzibar Ministry of Water. Powered solely by sun and wind, the plant energy and delivers 100 litres of drinking water per hour – enough to supply 600 people.

‘Now even poor households can afford clean water thanks to the low sale price,’ says Andreas Kanzler, the GIZ employee who heads up the water and sanitation programme in Tanzania. ‘That helps protect them from diseases such as diarrhoea or even typhus, which are currently widespread in Zanzibar.’ And, since the plant is operated and maintained by islanders who are trained by a local training institution, the local population also benefits from the additional jobs.

The Zanzibar model has established a precedent with a second plant having since been built on Kokota Island, a small fishing community which until recently was without a supply of either electricity or water. And more plants are in the pipeline. ‘Various organisations, hotels and businesses have already expressed an interest in installing a drinking water facility of their own,’ says Kanzler.

Telephone interviews with our expert Andreas Kanzler can be arranged by contacting the address shown.

Interview appointments will be available from 9 am to 11 am on Thursday 20 March.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. We support the German Government in the fields of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education. Through our work we assist people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.