My name is Kim and, along with my husband and four children, I’m a returning volunteer with Himanchal Education Foundation. Each spring we travel from our home in Singapore to Nangi and work on an engineering project designed to meet the energy needs of the village. These projects include solar hot water heaters, solar energy collection systems and solar light bulbs. Last summer we trekked up to the Community Lodge at Mohare to assess the possibility of installing a solar hot water heater for a shower. What we discovered was a trekking destination of unsurpassed beauty and magnificence but with no way to collect water. We decided to tackle the water collection problem first before we worried about installing a shower.
So this past June, during our annual Nepal trip, we spent a week in Mohare. We installed 10,000 L of water storage capacity. To collect and store the water, we installed gutters along both edges of the roof of the dining hall. These gutters feed into ten 1,000 L tanks for water collection and storage. Our kids had a great time cutting the gutters and putting the pipes together. We designed the system so that it will be easy to add more tanks to increase capacity to meet the growing needs of the Community Trekking Project. While we were there, the monsoon rains started. In one night, we collected about 5,000 L of water!
There are few who brave the trek to these remote areas during the summer monsoon season, but it’s an ideal time to collect the water. We were nervous about keeping the water safe to drink because it is actually collected during monsoon but consumed months later during the trekking season. The MIOX Corporation, http://www.miox.com, makes a system that converts a saltwater solution into mixed oxidants, which can be used to disinfect water and make it safe for drinking. Their BPS unit is portable, powered by a solar panel or battery and was used to disinfect water for victims of Hurricane Katrina. MIOX donated the unit to us in large part, and it will be used in Mohare to disinfect the water and to prevent a slimy layer from building up in the storage tanks. Using the MIOX unit will mean that the drinking water does not have to be boiled. This reduces the amount of wood or propane required along with the associated costs and environmental impact needed to boil drinking water.
Here is a picture of the installed system. A valuable lesson we have learned over the years is the necessity of working as a team with all the stakeholders in any given project. This project was no different and we included a needs assessment before initiating the project, valuable terrain and environmental data collected by the on-site Nepali team, a clear and concise project plan including materials and costs, building expertise from villagers, advice from the MIOX Corporation and our own experience in all stages of planning and implementation.
Now everyone can raise their water bottles and give a toast to good health and energy efficient water consumption thanks to the efforts of all involved. Namaste.