Sid Vollebregt, the managing director of Elemental Water Makers, pours a cup of water that had just been desalinated by a solar-powered system his company installed recently at a home on Great Camanoe. Photo: KEN SILVA

With the territory in the midst of a drought watch, many residents are looking for ways to conserve water lest their cisterns run dry and their water bills skyrocket.

Sid Vollebregt, the managing director of Elemental Water Makers, pours a cup of water that had just been desalinated by a solar-powered system his company installed recently at a home on Great Camanoe. Photo: KEN SILVA
But that’s no longer a problem for Great Camanoe resident Paul Serini, who is currently experiencing an excess of freshwater due to his recently installed 45,000-gallon solar-powered desalination system, which is the first of its kind in the Virgin Islands.

On Monday, the ground near the filtration room was actually damp with newly desalinated water from the nearby sea.

“We completed our system and it’s producing water every day, but [Mr. Serini] isn’t ready yet to distribute the water,” said project engineer Sid Vollebregt, the managing director of the Netherlands-based company Elemental Water Makers. “Right now we have a cistern under the boathouse, but it’s actually overflowing because we’re making too much water.”

Mr. Serini’s system is able to generate 3,300 gallons of desalinated water a day without using any fossil fuel.

See the July 23, 2015 edition for full coverage.

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