Renewable Energy Powers Water Desalination in Djibouti

The European Union has announced that it will provide 40.5 million Euros to support the development of a new renewable energy-powered water desalination plant in Djibouti which will provide water to 200,000 inhabitants, one-fourth of the country’s population, in some of the country’s poorest areas.

Djibouti suffers from an acute water shortage and has recently endured a prolonged drought, which has led to a serious food crisis in the country. The lack of access to water has contributed towards recent fighting and riots in the country.

Survol de Djibouti

According to the EU, demand for water in the capital Djibouti City (where around 75% of the population lives) is estimated at 80,000 m3 per day but only 36,000m3 per day is currently being supplied. The water produced is taken from the local aquifer, the only source of potable water for the city, which has reached its physical limit. Its quality is poor due to sea water intrusion, which has health and social consequences for the most vulnerable parts of the population, in particular children and women. The situation is aggravated by the high population growth in the capital which is expected to see demand for water more than double in the next 20 years.

Survol de Djibouti

The new EU-funded project PEPER (Producing Safe Drinking Water with Renewable Energy) will set up a desalination plant in the capital with the aim of providing affordable and clean drinking water. According to the EU, the new facility will have a capacity of 22,500 m3 per day, which may be extendable to 45,000 m3 per day.

Solar panels and water pump, Africa

The PEPER energy and water integrated project is one of the components of the EU’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which President Barroso announced in April and will also support the Government of Djibouti’s reform programme in the energy sector. The project is in line with commitments made at the Rio+20 summit and marks the first step towards Djibouti’s goal of moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2020.

Source: European Union

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