Sustainability and Science Collide: Atmospheric Water Generation at Rocherpan
With the ongoing drought in the Western Cape, CapeNature has been conducting research into alternative methods of providing water to the tourism facilities in the nature reserves.
These methods included fog harvesting, water purification and Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG).
Rocherpan Nature Reserve was identified as a pilot site for AWG as it is in a dry arid area and the water provided on the reserve had to be transported into the reserve. CapeNature therefore embarked on a pilot project with Cirrus Water Management (CWM) to test a 100 litre AWG unit.
Through a process called atmospheric water generation, CWM produces an unlimited supply of high-quality drinking water by extracting moisture out of the atmosphere where there is always a supply of humidity. The technology harvests moisture from the air by drawing air into the water generator and cooling it, causing the natural moisture in the air to condense. The condensed water is collected and passed through an advanced filtration process that removes any impurities.
The machine yielded positive results and provided enough pristine drinking water for staff consumption. CapeNature then embarked on securing larger units (three x 1 000 litres) to provide the reserve with even more water. With the installation of these AWGs the reserve will become self sustainable with regards to the water supply for staff and tourism requirements.
Riverlands Nature Reserve was later identified as requiring water as the borehole water was deemed unfit for human consumption. One of the large machines was then relocated from Rocherpan to Riverlands to alleviate the water shortage at that reserve.
The partnership with CWM has put CapeNature at the forefront of water generation innovation as one of the first organisations to implement the AWGs in a nature reserve setting. The initiative has also been a first for the combination of solar and municipal electricity. CapeNature requested a need for solar to be installed to reduce the need and reliance for municipal electricity. This has been to be effective as this has not only reduced the electricity usage from the municipality but it has also contributed positively to the carbon footprint. In a month of operation CapeNature`s 20 kilowatt solar plant has saved an equivalent of 4 trees reducing the reserves carbon footprint.