WaterCap: Securing Clean Drinking Water In Somalia
Water security is a hot topic across the globe. In developing and war-torn countries clean, potable water is a rare commodity. This is why, together with some of the brightest minds in water, Enigma Smart Site Services has created a solution – WaterCap. Providing modular plug-and-play water treatment systems, WaterCap provides clean, safe water in the most challenging environments.
We asked our COO, Daniel Stewart, a few questions on water security and WaterCap.
What is WaterCap and how does it benefit those who need it?
“WaterCap utilises the latest water technologies for global water problems in remote and often hostile locations from freshwater through to desalination. The product was born out of the requirements in one of the most austere and hostile places in the world, where water security is paramount to survival: Mogadishu. This is where Chelsea Group, in partnership with Enigma Alliance, embarked on an ambitious project to build secure accommodation camp Chelsea Village which hosts guests from the humanitarian and development communities and others working to help secure a stable future for Somalia.
One of the key starting points for Chelsea Village was to secure the water source for our 150 guests. Somalia with its ever-changing water landscape has been the ultimate learning platform for the WaterCap team. The fact that we’ve secured safe and potable water to World Health Organisation standards in this environment, in my mind is proof we can do so anywhere in the world.”
Can you tell us a bit more about the modular design of WaterCap and its ‘Plug-and-Play’ capabilities?
“WaterCap was built on the design element that runs through the very DNA of Enigma Smart Site Services’ product portfolio – containerised solutions. WaterCap allows micro installations through to macro utilisation of the latest technologies to treat water and monitor remotely, all in a secure containerised solution.”
How has the drought in Somalia impacted operations in the area?
“The drought and famine in Somalia has been well documented and covered from 2016 to the present day with severe consequences for the country. After nearly two decades of civil war, coupled with the rise in terrorism and global warming, Somalia has been suffering one of the most dangerous humanitarian disasters of this century. The UN, its donors and the International Community inclusive of the Somali diaspora stood up to the challenges of drought and famine and fought this head on and diverted the catastrophe that was developing. There were some real unsung heroes throughout this period and one individual who stood out for me used the power of social media to highlight the plight and also deliver the unthinkable. Mr Jerome Jarre, a social media superstar, set up #LoveArmyForSomalia and set to the plight of the 5 million people in need of food and water and raised over a million dollars in 48 hrs through social media. Supported by Ben Stiller and Turkish Airlines, he provided aid throughout Somalia during one of the most hostile times post civil war. It was an incredible achievement!
We at Chelsea Village have seen the drought impact our own operation and are making the necessary adjustments with green, low power technology to support our water function and the utilisation of sea water. Fresh water is a precious resource and it’s scarce, however we have over 1700km of coastline with sea water in abundance. So rather than diminishing Mogadishu’s water table we have recently commissioned our Desalination plant at Chelsea Village – it’s a serious investment and something that we’re very proud of.”
Rather than diminishing Mogadishu’s water table we have recently commissioned our Desalination plant at Chelsea Village – it’s a serious investment and something that we’re proud of
Why are Desalination treatment plants a better answer to water security than a Reverse Osmosis setup?
“I had the privilege to programme and project manage one of the very first containerised fresh water Reverse Osmosis plants into Somalia back in 2015, when Chelsea Village first opened its doors. The purpose of the Water Treatment Plant was to provide drinking water to every room, reducing the need for bottled water and operational costs.
The plant showed Chelsea Group’s commitment to clean water with the plant producing 7000 litres of European Standard drinking water to World Health Organisation’s drinking water guidelines. Over three years we have successfully produced the same standard of water while training engineers in the preservation of the aquifer and source, as well as water management, monitoring and testing.
In 2017, during the heavy drought we noticed a change in the aquifer. An impact assessment was conducted and our Chairman and CEO saw the necessity to switch to Desalination Reverse Osmosis and invest in a second Water Treatment Plant. This procurement was to stop the draw on a very scarce fresh water aquifer and to start utilizing the abundance of seawater that was available some 1km away. Through desalination, we can be 100% assured of the water security of our operation. This is a serious investment and statement made by the executive board in bringing the very latest desalination technology to Somalia.”
You say that your passion is to provide clean, accessible water for all. What inspired that?
“My inspiration and drive for clean water for all stems back from my military career – where there is conflict there is always a demand for clean, safe water. Nothing has changed in this regard over the last 25 years, from Iraq through to the deserts of Somalia. Now with global warming and the misuse of the most natural resource on the planet we see waterborne disease, drought and famine in many countries. I have seen the impact at ground level, and the catastrophic toll a lack of clean water takes. The technology is out there but it is going to take the private sector to engage and allow for Public Private Partnerships to make positive change in global water security – something WaterCap would be proud to be part of in Somalia. Education is key and the empowerment of women in water is a must as they are mostly the custodians of collection and distribution.”
Corporate Social Responsibility is close to your heart, what are you doing to give back to the communities who struggle the most with water security?
“Enigma Alliance support CSR projects in Africa with our Cheka Sana foundation in Tanzania. The foundation is a UK based charity that focuses on helping and supporting vulnerable street children either living on the streets, or within destructive families or communities. You can learn more about it here and here www.chekasanafoundation.com
There is a lot of engagement from the NGO sector in WASH and some really amazing inventions and success stories. What I wish to do is secure funding to build a desalination plant for a town, and start a process model in education, distribution, health and wellbeing, training and water reuse, as well as monitor the tangible data to look at mid to long term water security and independence. My other vision is to look at inner cities to implement pay-as-you go automated water dispensers utilising epay and tokens, as well as setting up water training schools both for water monitors and technical potential engineers of the future. This will help communities to be self supportive and also start to generate clean water, food and sustainable living utilising solar energy and green technologies.
Who are the partners who’ve helped bring WaterCap to life?
I have had the pleasure to work alongside some of the pioneers in water treatment and membrane technologies. Water technology is no longer just open to the Western world but also the developing or post-conflict world.
What’s next for WaterCap? To continue to bring the latest in water technologies to the global market and put water treatment plants into locations that most fear to tread.
What’s next for WaterCap?
To continue to bring the latest in water technologies to the global market and put water treatment plants into locations that most fear to tread. Engage with the NGO sectors, donors and Government sectors to support advise and implement. I would like to engage further in mid to long-term water solutions for clients and countries as well as start education and training to teach the future generations the importance of water management. This is very visible in developed countries and cities such as Cape Town, South Africa. The empowerment, training and education of women in water is vital to the future of water management and security. WaterCap is ready to engage in the public and private sector and in support of, the UN’s SDG 6. Together we can ensure the availability and sustainability management of water and sanitation for all.”