10 November 2015

Island stories

The islands around the world often have unique water supply issues and island-based companies have become an important part of the Genesys distributor network.

Our first major work for an island community was through Richard Martin in the Canary Islands, back in 2002. The opportunities have grown rapidly since then and we now have significant business in many island locations. One of the fastest growing is Mauritius and Seychelles. Our distributor, Aquascience & Technology, managed by Mrinal Khadoo and Clarel Fanchon, supplies water treatment products and services across the islands to hotels, manufacturers, businesses and municipalities.

In October our sales director, Ursula Annunziata, was invited to give a keynote speech at the Greening the Islands conference in Malta, in her capacity as President of the European Desalination Society. In her speech, entitled ‘Desalination in the islands’, she talked about vital work in another island state, Sri Lanka. There, chronic kidney disease (CKD) has become a major health problem in rural areas. More than 15% of the population aged 15-70 is affected, as a result of exposure to low-cost agrichemicals poisoning drinking water. A project to install localised reverse osmosis plants to remove dangerous metals including arsenic from drinking water is underway, but maintenance issues are a concern. As the plants are in remote locations, we’re working with our local distributor, Watercare Technologies, to provide a simple, single-product cleaning solution to remove clay and biofilm.

In December 2014 there was a fire at the main reverse osmosis desalination plant in Male, the capital of the Maldives, which forced it to cease operation. This led to serious water shortages across Male, home to around 158,000 people, all of whom depend upon the water produced by this plant.

Supplies of bottled water were flown in from India and Sri Lanka but these were insufficient to meet the demand. A state of emergency was declared and our distributor for the Maldives, Aquareef, stepped in to provide emergency water supply points using small saltwater reverse osmosis (SWRO) systems, taking feed from portable intakes dropped over the side of the harbour. The permeate was post-treated and sent to distribution points nearby, where residents could fill containers. Tanks of water were also filled from the temporary RO plant and distributed across the island by the military.

As these stories show, islands present special challenges when it comes to water access. We’re proud to be involved in helping to overcome them.

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