Mascara launches initiative to provide access to drinking water in remote areas

Mascara, a French company specialising in water treatment solutions using renewable energies, has launched Kori Odyssey, an initiative aimed at co-developing and implementing with local stakeholders tailored water access programmes using solar energy in remote areas.

The Kori Odyssey team is embarking on its first one-year mission: the Pacific Odyssey, a one-year itinerary to meet stakeholders throughout the area, by sailboat, with a departure from Papeete on 15 Feb 2023.

(Image: Mascara)

Challenges when providing access to water in isolated areas

Climate change and the global increase in consumption have accelerated a global water crisis. This lack of water is at the root of health and nutrition problems, and is also a major obstacle to development. Isolated communities are the first to be hit by this shortage, which is also one of the main causes of climatic migration.

The diversity of these communities — geographical, economic, social — means that addressing the challenge they face from a technological perspective only, through the installation of a standardised desalination unit for example, is unthinkable. The water access philosophy must be holistic and built with the communities to sustain the projects’ impact on the people.

To better respond to this issue and combine both technological approach and socio-economic engineering, Mascara launched the Kori Odyssey initiative to facilitate the emergence of sustainable solutions developed with the communities and the local authorities to create ecological and sustainable water systems with minimised carbon impact.

The Pacific Odyssey, Kori Odyssey’s first programme

Kori Odyssey’s first concrete action is to launch its first programme: the Pacific Odyssey. With 30,000 islands, 22 countries and 40 million inhabitants, the South Pacific Ocean is at the heart of climate change issues. Scattered, isolated and heterogeneous, many of its communities suffer from a lack of fresh water and meet the needs identified by Mascara.

Mascara has already deployed at the end of 2022 the first Vanuatu programme, which aimed at identifying the needs of the communities of the archipelago to equip four villages and install six Osmosun solar desalination units.

Based on the success of this programme, Mascara launched the Kori Odyssey initiative and its first Pacific Odyssey programme in this area.

The first step will be to collect data to co-construct a technical and financial programme. With a similar approach to the Vanuatu programme, the Kori Odyssey teams, with their expertise in social engineering, technology and financial modelling, will meet with all the water stakeholders in the region through workshops in the capitals and villages to define collectively the outlines of a water access programme.

Following this first stage of data collection and co-construction, the Kori Odyssey initiative will support water managers in each country in the implementation and monitoring of programmes with multilateral agencies and international organisations.

Developing local connections to accelerate access to drinking water for all

With Kori Odyssey, Mascara has set a double objective in the Pacific zone. The first idea is to deploy and co-build its Osmosun autonomous solar desalination solutions to a potential target of no less than 125 villages, about 120,000 potential beneficiaries. In the second phase, Mascara intends to capitalise on this first programme to facilitate its local anchoring in the area, allowing the company to address the problem of isolated sites to install sustainable solutions.

“Mascara was created on the basis of a vision: the problem of access to water, and a desire to remedy it with solutions that are both technological and socio-economic,” said Quentin Ragetly, Mascara’s CEO. “We have completed a first phase with our Osmosun solutions, which are now produced on an industrial scale, and we are launching a new phase with this work on social engineering with Kori Odyssey, with the ambition to go fast for more drinking water for all and for a long time.”

The Kori Odyssey sailboat

To remain in line with the objective of sustainable initiative, Mascara chose wind energy to propel its initiative. The Kori Odyssey team will make necessary trips to meet the actors of the Pacific Ocean by sailboat. The boat will also serve as an office. This choice of low-carbon travel is also an echo and a tribute to local customs and the Pacificway.

The Kori Odyssey team is composed of three people: captain Manu Jacolot, logistics manager Baptiste Pouder, and project manager Martin Bourillet.