Innovative Hydropanel Technology Demonstrates A Pathway To Improved Drinking Water Access In Papua New Guinea

SOURCE Hydropanels leapfrogs infrastructure providing sustainable drinking water solution for students and teachers at Daugo Primary School

Approximately 1,000 people live on Daugo Island, a community located 30 minutes by boat from PNG’s capital city of Port Moresby. While Daugo Island residents love the island’s remoteness and unspoiled beauty, access to essential services lags behind urban areas and remains a constraint to progress in health, education and economic development.

Drinking water for example, is scarce. While Papua New Guinea has made strides, UNICEF estimates that only 37% of the population has access to a “basic water supply.” Historically at Daugo Primary School, intermittently, rainwater had been boiled for students to drink, but mostly the school was reliant on water purchased in Port Moresby, loading 200 litre drums into small boats ferrying them to Daugo Island at significant cost, risk and logistical difficulty. When water was not available for students, the school would close for the day.

Today, with support from The Lightsmith Group, The US Department of State and the Nordic Development Fund, the PNG Department of Education is leveraging SOURCE Hydropanel technology to provide a supply of clean and reliant drinking water at Daugo Primary School.

Operating completely off-grid, hydropanels use solar energy to draw moisture out of the air and push it through water-absorbing material. This process passively turns water vapour into drinking water that’s mineralised for health and taste and kept clean in a storage tank until it’s needed.

The Hydropanel array at Daugo Primary School has the capacity to produce daily drinking water for the approximately 160 students, and has a renewable storage capacity of 1,200 Litres of high-quality water that is produced, stored and consumed within school grounds and without the need for any external water or power supply.

“Daugo Primary School and the broader Fishman’s Island community has faced long-standing challenges with drinking water supply that were largely due to the fact that traditional urban water supply methods are not a feasible option to serve remote communities or small islands like ours” said Sam Lora, The First Assistant Secretary Innovation Division, PNG Department of Education “the Hydropanel solution was installed and commissioned in a number of weeks and has given our school and community a lasting supply of water that is hugely impactful”.

SOURCE CRO, Robert Bartrop, sees the Daugo Primary School installation as an example of what happens when public and private sector officials work towards a common vision.

“The Pacific Islands has the greatest drinking water challenges of any region in the world – it is a problem that is manifested in decentralised communities in villages and small islands that are in need of a new approach to drinking water supply” Bartrop said. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the PNG Department of Education, Daugo Primary School, and to have support from The Lightsmith Group, US Department of State and the Nordic Development Fund. Investing in remote schools directly impacts health, education and economic development while supporting vulnerable communities with adaptive water supply designed to combat water scarcity and climate risks”. In 2021 TWM Group, a Papua New Guinea-owned and operated business working to shape a positive future for the country’s people and the environment, introduced premium drinking water made from sunlight and air via SOURCE Hydropanels, to remote worksites.