NUSA LEMBONGAN, Bali (BPN) – Royal Australian Navy Ship, HMAS Canberra, has delivered Nusa Lembongan’s first solar powered desalination plant to Yayasan Pendidikan Wisata Darma Bali (SMA Wisata Darma). The initiative was led by the Australian NGO, Surfrider Foundation Australia, with funding and support from the Australian Government.
The genesis of the idea came about in 2018, after Australian NGOs, Surfrider Foundation, and Bottle for Botol visited the school and learned about water access and plastic waste issues on the island.
“The Australian Consulate-General thanks Commander IPE21, CDRE Mal Wise onboard HMAS Canberra and members of the Indonesian Armed Forces Bali in assisting Surfrider Foundation to deliver this sustainable solution for water, power, and plastic waste to Nusa Lembongan. One of our priorities is supporting innovative ways to protect natural resources and support sustainable tourism in Bali. This is an example of the strong friendship between Australian and Balinese communities united in our shared passion for the ocean and environment. This is an excellent initiative, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact on the community in the years ahead,” said Anthea Griffin, Consul-General, Australian Consulate-General Bali.
After receiving funding through the Australian Government’s Australian Friendship Grants program, the Foundation was able to purchase a desalination plant for the school from the Australian water technology company, Moerk Water.
Moerk Water specializes in high-quality, reliable solar-powered treatment systems for remote rural communities. They also train local community members on how to run their own desalination plants.
Once installed, the plant will produce 150 liters of clean drinking water per hour for 500 people each day, reduce the island’s current reliance on single-use plastics, be owned and operated by local community members, the majority of whom are women.
Bottle for Botol also delivered a training course for students and teachers on sustainability and plastic pollution and gave each student a reusable water bottle to use once the plant is up and running.
Challenges associated with COVID-19 had delayed delivery of the plant from Western Australia. An opportunity to deliver it arose, however, through Indonesia’s and Australia’s close cooperation on defense and disaster preparedness.
As part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster relief Exercise associated with the Indo-Pacific Endeavour (IPE21), HMAS Canberra embarked on the desalination plant and delivered it to the island using air assets from HMAS Anzac.
This activity was coordinated through Defence Staff Jakarta with the assistance of Indonesian authorities including the Indonesian Defence Force (TNI).
“It was a wonderful experience to get to know the Nusa Lembongan community and discuss Australian water technology as a solution to the island’s water and plastic problems. I was inspired by the community’s interest in a solution that would not only meet their water needs and reduce the use of throwaway plastics but also mitigate salinity intrusion, which small islands like Nusa Lembongan increasingly face due to overconsumption of aquifers and climate change,” Tom Wheeler, President of Surfrider Foundation Australia – Perth Chapter.