Easter Island’s first solar energy desalination plant has been inaugurated

Publicado: 26 June, 2015
Sustainability

Farmers like Germán Teao will benefit from the desalination plant in Rapa Nui.

Aiming to promote Rapa Nui’s agriculture, Fundación Chile, Easter Island’s CONAF and other local actors, inaugurated a plant with sea water desalination technology that uses solar energy to filter and generate water for irrigation. This allows to assess the option of supplying agriculture their requirement for water during the months of lesser rain. Currently, 60% of the fruits and vegetables arrive at the Island from the continent. This situation is expected to change with the development of this initiative, considering its replicability in other points of the island where there is no water supply.

This project will aid farmers not to rely exclusively in rain to fulfill their job; given the desalination plant is capable of turning into a technological alternative that allows increasing the resource’s availability during lean months. In this context, the system was funded with the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC) of the Regional Government of Valparaíso.

The desalination plant is capable of turning into a technological alternative that allows increasing the hydric resource availability during the months of less rain.

The Head of Fundación Chile’s Sustainability Project, Carolina Cuevas, stated that “this initiative has represented an opportunity to assess, in real conditions, a desalination technology that treats sea water and generates irrigation water, analyzing its performance  and transference’s opportunities to local farmers in the field.

In addition, the project will allow Easter Island’s CONAF to assess the feasibility of using solar energy produced by the photovoltaic plant to fuel the electricity generation of the Province’s offices. On that regard, Ninoska Cuadros Hucke, Easter Island Provincial Chief, explains that “today more than ever, it is necessary to work in the ecological recovery of the island, and this pilot experience adds knowledge, technology and more importantly, the opportunity to practice a sustainable and virtuous cycle for Rapa Nui”.

The decrease of irrigation water is causing a decrease in production, which increases the final prices. In response to that, the energy efficient desalination plant with incorporation of solar energy, intends to be a benefit to the community. The system was inaugurated at CONAF’s offices with the participation of local and national authorities, services managers, and the community in general.