Climate-KIC alumni Elemental Water Makers is one of the initiators of Elemental Water Foundation. This foundation 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.
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. Sid Vollebregt and his friend Reinoud Feenstra, both engineers of the The University of Technology Delft, developed technology to couple desalination technology to renewable energy such as the sun. When seawater can be converted into fresh water through the sole use of solar energy, it becomes possible to solve freshwater scarcity in remote coastal areas in a sustainable innovative way. Reinoud and Sid managed to improve the energy efficiency of the desalination process by a factor 3, to ensure the affordability of the water. 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. Sid and Reinoud completed the EIT Climate-KIC Acceleration Program, which enabled them to build their tech-company, providing them the required insights as engineers how to successfully built and scale a business.
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.
Read the full press release here.