Daru island, Papua New Guinea achieves water independence

A small island in the South Fly District of western province Papua New Guinea is benefitting from a renewable powered project that is now providing clean, potable water to its residents.

The water project that combines renewable energy and clean water supply to Daru island

With a population of about 20,000 residents, the island of Daru previously imported its water from a diesel-powered pumping station located on the mainland. The expensive supply resulted in an unreliable source, often leaving the island stranded with no available potable water for months during each year. 

Lacking water independence, facing potential fuel shortages and other logistic challenges, the island needed a solution to provide a reliable clean water supply for communities and agricultural development.

The PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) and Innovative Agro Industry (IAI), an affiliate of the international development company, LR group, partnered with water technology provider ROTEC to deliver a water project that combines renewable energy and clean water supply to Daru island.

The 100m3/hr turnkey water treatment plant was commissioned in a record two months

Water supply was also required for the Fly Agro-Industrial Centre, established by PNGSDP and IAI. The centre includes a modern vanilla farm and aqua-culture creating jobs and revenue generating opportunities for the local communities.

The 100m3/hr turnkey water treatment plant was commissioned in a record two months, despite facing challenging logistics, including delivering materials and equipment to a remote Island. The plant treats brackish water from boreholes to provide Daru’s inhabitants with nearly two million litres of high-quality drinking water per day.

Linking to a neighbouring solar array including local battery storage capability, the project eliminated the high pumping costs associated with diesel fuel usage for water production, using renewable energy via a photovoltaic (PV) solar farm.

Using flow reversal reverse osmosis (FR-RO) technology, the Daru project delivers high water recovery rates of between 80-90%, while using near-zero chemicals in the process, minimising impact on the marine environment. Low-quality groundwater is handled by the FR-RO process, providing self-cleaning while maintaining stability.

PNGSDP and IAI partnered with ROTEC

Boaz Shitzer, ROTEC CEO, said: “Daru was facing a challenge around water stability and safety. Together with PNGSDP and IAI, we overcame logistical challenges during construction to create a resilient water supply for both the local communities and agriculture development on the remote island. We hope this can serve as a model for bringing local, clean, and resilient drinking water infrastructure and operation to other remote and developing communities around the world.”

Following success in Daru, LR Group, IAI and ROTEC are now pursuing together joint projects, combining water, agriculture and wastewater across Africa, Asia and Australasia.