From Saltwater to Safe Water - Disaster Recovery Efforts

From Saltwater to Safe Water - Wind blown palm trees - Parker HannifinA key part of Purpose is recognizing that Parker people and technologies have a vital role to play in making the world a better place. We call it Leading with Purpose and it's one of the core ideas at the foundation of Parker's partnership with Water Mission.

Water Mission is a non-profit organization that responds to the urgent need for safe drinking water around the world in developing countries and areas impacted by natural disasters. Since 2001, the organization has used innovative technology and engineering expertise to provide access to safe water for more than four million people in 55 countries. And yet, Water Mission did not have a system for treating saltwater.


The problem

The need to supply potable water to people after a disaster is one of the greatest challenges. When disaster strikes, a clean water supply must be established as quickly as possible. The longer a population is without a clean water supply, the higher the incidence of disease and other complications. Many Relief agencies struggle to supply clean water in a timely manner due to funding, logistics, and resources. In the past, the solution has been to truck in bottled water. However, one tanker truck can only supply approximately 8000 gallons of water. It would take numerous trucks to supply a large population with water. In addition, moving this amount of water is a resource-intensive and costly task. The operation of moving this large amount of water on highways is a poor use of critical logistic resources and may be restricted due to the nature of the disaster. The roads could be better used for other tasks in the resource-constrained days following a disaster.


Strategic partnership

In 2014, Parker and Water Mission forged a strategic partnership, in which Parker provided the organization its highest-capacity water purification system that could fit in a standard 20' container. This took watermaker technology, often employed for onboard ship water purification for extending voyages, and scaled it for an entire community.

From Saltwater to Safe Water _ Parker RO system container - Parker HannifinThe Parker Sea Water Desalination Unit, also known commonly as a watermaker, uses reverse osmosis (RO) as its method of seawater desalination. Capable of treating up to 30,000 gallons per day, the container-based system is ready to deploy wherever temporary or emergency potable water is required. 

Parker water purification systems were deployed in the US following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Water Mission deployed its Parker RO Unit in Columbia, South Carolina in 2015 in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin.

Various size units that have been deployed and installed across multiple sites including:

  • 3 systems – 400 gpd
  • 5 systems  – 800 gpd
  • 4 systems – 4000 gpd


Hurricane Dorian hits Bahamas
From Saltwater to Safe Water - Ferry unloading Water Mission's Parker RO unit - Parker Hannifin

And then, on September 1st, 2019 Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas as a record-breaking category 5 storm and battered the islands of Grand Bahamas and Abaco for two days before moving North. It delivered sustained 85mph winds that razed buildings and knocked out the electric infrastructure around Marsh Harbour, Abaco's largest city.

According to Red Cross, about 45% of the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco were severely damaged or destroyed while devastating floods compromised the water supply, leaving more than 60,000 people without clean drinking water.

From SAltwater to Safe Water - tanker and trailer together Water Mission in Bahamas - Parker HannifinWater Mission was there on the ground quickly with its Parker Reverse Osmosis Unit and disaster response teams to meet the needs of residents affected.
From Saltwater to Safe Water - Parker RO unit - Parker HannifinParker sent a field engineer who remained on site for ten days to help Water Mission setup and startup the 20ft LB-30 Portable Container-Mounted Watermaker.
Historically, Water Mission has responded to both emergent and long-term needs that result from a disaster situation. In the Bahamas, as in previous disaster response initiatives, the goal is to not only offer immediate access to safe water; they also assist local leaders and communities in rebuilding and aim to equip them for the lengthy and complex work of reconstruction.



Specifics on the portable container-mounted watermaker

With a production capacity of 30,000 US Gallons Per Day, the LB-30 fills the need for large-scale demand with efficiency and speed. This complete watermaker system is enclosed in a standard 20-foot ISO container and includes a generator, supply pump and storage tanks. Deliverable by road, rail or by sea, the LB-30 can be deployed quickly wherever temporary or emergency potable water is needed.

From Saltwater to Safe Water - Truck mounted LB20 Watermaker System - Parker HannifinLB-30 Specifics:

  • Power requirement 25 kW/hr at 440/3/60 or 380/3/50. A 56kW diesel generator supplied with a switchover box.
  • Transport weight of 16,500 US pounds.
  • Feed pump with 100-foot hoses, along with strainer and lift-check foot valve.
  • Pre-filtration media tanks with backwash, rinse capability.
  • 20, 5-micron prefilter cartridges.
  • Titanium-head, high-pressure pump, belt-driven at less than 650 rpm for long life, low noise.
  • Membrane array in FRP pressure vessels. Thin-film composite membrane elements.
  • Clean-in-place membrane capability.
  • Post-treatment chlorination.
  • Complete flow and pressure instrumentation.
  • Piping of FRP and stainless steel 316.
  • Overhead lighting illuminates the container interior.
  • 3000 US Gallon collapsible portable water storage tank.
  • Multi-language setup and operation instructions
    via a rugged tablet screen.
  • Water distribution manifold for simultaneous
    multiple requirements.


Other sizes available:

From Saltwater to Safe Water - Capacity table for different size watermaker systems








Watch the video and images supplied by Water Mission of their work in the Bahamas


Parker Purpose

After more than a century of experience serving our customers, Parker is often called to the table for the collaborations that help to solve the most complex engineering challenges. We help them bring their ideas to light. We are a trusted partner, working alongside our customers to enable technology breakthroughs that change the world for the better. Learn more about Parker's Purpose by downloading: Leading with Purpose 
Article contributed by the Parker Bioscience - Water Purification Team and

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