03 juni 2006
Dutch WaterPyramid awarded by World Bank
It is called a WaterPyramid, and the concept is simple, cheap and easy to handle. And above all, it produces large quantities of drinking water, which makes it a profitable asset for communities in tropical countries: the surplus of water can be sold in bottles.
The WaterPyramid is a kind of tent, placed over a pool of dirty water. As the sun heats the temperature inside the tent, the water evaporates and can be intercepted. In the rainy season the same tent can be used to catch the rainwater, that can be easily transported to a nearby basin. The technology in itself is not new, but what makes the WaterPyramid so special is the scale: it can provide hundreds of families with clean water. In Gambia the installation has been tested in an area close to a river disemboguing into the sea. A tent has been placed over 200 square meters, containing brackish source water. On a sunny day the pyramid delivers some 600 litres of potable water. "After adding minerals and disinfectant against intestinal bacteria, the water is perfectly suitable for consumption," explains Martijn Nitzsche. In a country like Gambia, where the rainy season takes three months, the pyramid produces 1.5 million litres of water that can be either used for households or irrigation.
With the money of the World Bank award, Nitzsche plans to expand his pilot project in Gambia, making it three times the present size.
The WaterPyramid is one of the thirty award winners in the competitive grant program of the World Bank, called Development Marketplace, that funds innovative, small-scale development projects that show potential to be expanded or replicated. Over 2,550 projects joined the contest. Winning project ideas ranged from using native freshwater mussels to clean up lakes in China, to establishing a decentralized supply of renewable energy throughout Rwanda, providing water-pumps, to using a solar-powered desalinisation and water-purification system in Turkey, to improving access to water in Haiti, to using LED light units to bring lighting to tribal homes in India.
P+ Webtip: WaterPyramid