Fresh Water for St Helena Island

by Andre | June 7th, 2013 | Comments | Share

Tags : st helena island drought fresh water

St Helena Island, a remote outpost of the British empire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, has about 4000 residents living there. At the moment they are having a sever drought and have only received about one third of their annual rainfall. The level of water in the various dams have dropped and now the residents have sever restrictions.

I've always wanted to go to St Helena Island after seeing the RMS St Helena in Cape Town harbour on one of my holidays there while I was a student. More recently my aunt moved to St Helena Island and owns the only hotel on the island. I was seriously considering moving there to begin vegetable farming. I still want to! The island used to supply over 1000 ships in the old days with fresh vegetables and water.

Email about drought - 7th June 2013

I get the weekly emails from the island's government and recently saw that they area experiencing this major drought. Emails warned residents that they only have 8 days of water left. I thought there must be an easy way to get water to e island. I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to arrange a shipment of water in containers to the island, but the cost would be huge. There had to be an easier way to get water there.

I thought about floating water to the island. Fresh water is less dense than sea water, so a huge bag of water would float on top of the sea water. I later found out that is has been done in the USA before! The prominent sea currents also go up the west coast of Southern Africa towards St Helena Island. I still need to calculate and model the sea currents to see how long it would take to get there just using sea currents.

To pull the bags of water, I thought of using a kite surf sail. Surfers have been using kites for ages to pull them through the surf. Using wind power, the kite could constantly pull the bags in the right direction. If I can build an automated system, that would launch the kite when there are favorable winds and collect and store the kite when there is no winds or storms, we could have automated "barges" of water being pulled by the wind all the way to St Helena Island. Once the bags arrive there, they are pulled close to shore, pumped empty and then stored for the return trip to Cape Town via ship.

I would like to build the full sized system and sail it all the way to St Helena Island, but this would cost quite a bit. Maybe the British Government has money available for research, for a system that can be used to get fresh water to St Helena Island and many other places in the world that experience drought. Even Cape Town City could get water from further up the east coast of South Africa. The fresh water could be river water that just needs to be cleaned, or proper fresh water that can be pumped directly into the reservoirs.

  • The Spragg Bag

    Spragg Bag

    Television crew standing on "Spragg Bag" The bags are 25 foot diameter, 230 ft long and hold 770,000 US Gallons.

  • Wind Propulsion

    Wind Propulsion

    Harnessing the power of the wind to save up to 60% fuel

  • Jamestown, St Helena Island

    St Helena Island

    Jamestown, the capital of St Helena Island.

Future Research

Water Bags

I would like to have two or three large bags made, half or third scale, pumped full of fresh water and then monitored to see how long they last in all types of sea conditions and to see how long the water remains fresh water. They would be connected to each other and then connected to a floating buoy and anchored to the ocean floor. Test equipment would record weather conditions, sea surface conditions and the salinity of the water in the bags.




comments powered by Disqus