As the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) works toward improving the power grid of the US Virgin Islands (USVI), residents continue facing service interruptions. Cistern water purification systems are rendered ineffective if they depend on unreliable power sources.
Residents experience periodic power outages on the islands, but that should not impact their access to potable drinking water. The Caripur H2O system is designed to purify cistern rainwater while running 100% on solar power. Additionally, the unit contains a backup battery that lasts for several hours to supplement power during service interruptions.
USVI Drinking Water
Drinking water is limited across the USVI. Many residents use cistern tanks to collect rainwater which is used for washing clothes or flushing toilets. This water is pushed into the home or business using an electrical pump.
A study found that approximately 80% of cistern tanks are contaminated with E. Coli compared to 58% of faucets (in addition to other germs and parasites). It’s concerning that a significant portion of cistern tanks are contaminated. However, the study also demonstrates that using proper filtration systems will result in safe drinking water.
Another important point is, even if the water were drinkable, frequent power outages disable the cistern pump preventing water from entering the building or home.
The USVI is no stranger to power outages. The islands are at risk of hurricane damage resulting in major electricity blackouts. Nearly 55,000 WAPA customers lost electricity after Hurricane Maria, and 25% remained without power 100 days later.
WAPA is experiencing some financial issues; most recently, this has led to the suspension of APR Energy’s backup power generators. The power plant reverted to two less efficient propane generators to augment the required electrical output.
Despite reassurances from WAPA, service disruptions are still a common occurrence on the islands.
Caripur H2O System
As discussed in our previous blog, cistern water purification systems can provide an essential service for USVI residents. However, these systems must be reliable.
The Caripur H2O system is designed to withstand chronic blackouts. The unit uses AC or DC and backup battery power but can also run 100% on solar power (bypassing the power grid altogether).
If the primary external power source fails, then Caripur H2O instantly switches to its backup battery which can provide hundreds of gallons of purified water on a single charge. This same battery will automatically recharge when power is restored, or when solar panels or a generator are attached. Providing indefinite water pumping and purification capabilities.
Power outages may be a common occurrence on the USVI, but access to purified cistern water should never be compromised.