Kiwi invention brings water to communities in need
18 Mar 2008
A New Zealand invention is set to provide salvation to island communities in an emergency.
The mini-desalination plant, designed by Auckland engineer Victoria Fray, will provide water for hundreds of people in a disaster situation.
''It can convert 3000 litres of water a day. That's enough for emergency use for a small village of 900 people,'' says Glenn Rose, the New Zealand manager of the Red Cross's humanitarian programme.
The device is small and robust enough to be sent away for use, brought back to New Zealand, and be ready for the next emergency.
Prior to this invention, Red Cross’ desalination appliances were for large scale emergencies, providing water for up to 40,000 people. The new smaller scale invention is specifically designed to suit the needs of tiny, isolated islands, like the Pacific Islands.
Fray, a water and sanitation engineer for Opus Consultants, is one of 80 Kiwi experts who have volunteered to be on standby for Red Cross emergency missions.
In 2004, Fray faced her first mission to Ambae Island in Vanuatu when Mt Manaro began erupting ash. It was here that Fray saw a need for improvement. The desalination plant used was a basic model with no protective casing. On her return to Auckland, Fray worked with local engineers General Marine to create a more robust device to send to the next emergency.
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