Treating Brackish Water to produce fresh water in Africa with Vergnet Hydro

27 June 2019

From pumping unsafe water to distributing drinking water at the tap

Pictures caption: Solar-based drinking water supply solution from brackish water implemented by VERGNET HYDRO, MASCARA RENEWABLE WATER and AFRIDEV MATI in Manhiça (Mozambique) in 2018 (photos credits: the top-right one, Titouan GAREL; the three others, VERGNET HYDRO).

Mascara Renewable Water and the French SME VERGNET HYDRO have just signed an exclusive partnership agreement for the implementation of a drinking water supply solution from brackish water in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The objective of this partnership is to pool our skills, strengths and networks in order to offer a turnkey solution to governments, donors and NGOs: from pumping unsafe water to distributing drinking water at the tap,” explains Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director of VERGNET HYDRO.

The level of salinity of the collected groundwater, which does not meet the drinking water standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a regular problem in rural water projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Salt water consumption causes dehydration and kidney disease. In addition, brackish water damages pumping equipment and pipes, which corrodes them, and causes metal particles to circulate in water systems, which on its turn may cause cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

OSMOSUN® complements VERGNET HYDRO’s 40 years of experience and innovation

MASCARA has developed an industrial technology for desalination of brackish water by solar energy, with very low operating costs, from 100 FCFA to 130 FCFA (€0.15 to €0.20) per m3, and electricity consumptions in the range of 1.2 to 1.5 kWh per m3. “MASCARA’s OSMOSUN® solar desalination units are based on reverse osmosis technology, and are all the more innovative, economical and ecological because they do not require a battery to store energy. We are indeed the first in the world to offer a solar-based solution,” says enthusiastically Marc VERGNET, President of MASCARA.

Within the framework of this partnership, this innovative technology is combined with VERGNET HYDRO’s 40 years of experience and innovation in rural hydraulics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our joint offer combines OSMOSUN® with VERGNET HYDRO’s energy production systems (solar fields and emergency generators), raw water pumping systems (exhauster columns, drill heads and manifolds) and storage and distribution systems (water towers, pipes, valves, etc.),” explains Etienne DECHERF, Chief Sales and Operations Officer of VERGNET HYDRO.

A first and fruitful collaboration in Mozambique

The signing of this contract is the result of a first and fruitful collaboration in Mozambique. In 2018, VERGNET HYDRO and MASCARA set up solar-powered drinking water supply systems with desalination in 6 villages (7,200 inhabitants) in the Gaza Province. The two French companies relied on the expertise of the Mozambican company AFRIDEV MATI (Maputo) to carry out the construction works and to manage the systems setup.

The VERGNET HYDRO/MASCARA offer will initially be launched in 8 Sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. The contract also includes testing this overall offer in Asia, starting with Bangladesh.