Island boasts drinking water from saltwater

Vanuatu Daily Post article on their website – January 2012

By Len Garae

Start of the building to house the machine

One of Malekulaa��s many islands called Uluveu in the Maskylenes has made history by boasting the first machine to turn saltwater into drinking water.

Volunteers working on the Oil Palm project and the Uluveu RO Desalination Plant in the Maskylenes have successfully set up the machine to turn saltwater into drinking water which is also used for washing and showering.

Not only that but even the washing and bathing bars of soap are all made locally in the soap factory in Maskylene Island. The company buys coconut oil from the villagers at Vt200 per litre which it uses to produce soap and other health products.

Liane Farry who initiated the soap project in the first place is flying up to Port Vila tonight to travel to Malekula and the Maskylenes to get ready for the official opening of the water making project on January 13.

Describing the building housing the machine to the sponsors of the project, Liane Farry wrote in the project newsletter, a�?The building is a two roomed structure, on one side we have three showers and four wash basins and in the other side all the equipment for making water.

The water maker was designed by Terry Forestry of Open Ocean NZ. Also included in the equipment are twelve Raylite batteries plus the component boxes.

The system has been designed by Jason Whaanga of ECO Solutions and installed by John Rossiter of Solapro NZ. All plumbing has been installed by local plumber Kalo and Carson Finnemore and Allstar Plumbing NZ, not only did they plumb up the Water Pavilion but they also installed twelve 6000 litre tanks throughout the three villages so that water catchment could be maximiseda�?, she says.

Liane Farry says being able to collect maximum rain water in Uluveu Island means that dehydration; which is a health problem there will be overcome.

a�?A long time before the building of the Uluveu Nuwai Pavilion was started, James Brodie NZ Architect and volunteer for NZCHET, spent many hours with our trustees and designers making sure the design was just right.

The actual building has been a huge success and has been perfect for the needs of the community and equipmenta�?, she says.

Now that the machine has been up and running, people from Uluveu and the surround islands have gone to see the plant in action.

a�?This is the first time that showers have been available in the island. It is also the first time that women can come and do their washing without having to cart water from the bore wells which are contaminated.

For the first time students from Sangalai School where the plant is located, were able to take showers.

Palm Project has and will continue to donate coconut soap with added tea tree to eliminate scabies and skin infections. It is hoped that the health status of the villages will improve with the increased save drinking and washing watera�?, she says.