Not every application needing reliable seawater to fresh water supply is located on a sail boat, motor boat or fishing vessel. When boat owners need simple, automatic or manual operation, a design for limited spaces and heavy-duty construction, they turn to Parker and our array of known brands: Village Marine, Sea Recovery and Horizons Reverse Osmosis. However, Parker watermakers are also used in remote applications to deliver purified water from salt water or a land source for on land consumption.
Living on a remote tropical island may sound idyllic, but it comes with some harsh realities. Power. Water. Access. And destructive weather.
An example is the Bahamas. Little Hog Cay is a completely private, 20 plus acre barrier island in the Northern Bahamas with lagoons, beautiful white-sand beaches and land elevations to 30 feet. The island is located in the Hog Cays, one mile from mainland Abaco or five minutes from the airstrip and full-service marina at Spanish Cay. It is centrally located between the top four Abaco sportfishing destinations Walker`s Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbor.
After Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the island owner was forced to replace several key infrastructure items, one of which was the water purification system, consisting of a water maker, pumps and storage tanks. The initial call to the Parker service teams was prompted by the customer who was trying to install a Parker Village Marine Little Wonder Modular LWM 145 Watermaker with a 12 VDC system.
Rather than mounting on an ocean vessel, the customer was installing the unit on land to provide water for drinking, ice, and water gardens. He intended to use salt water as the source and needed technical support on the related equipment required to supply the source water to the unit. The customer submitted a request for technical assistance on one of our Parker websites. The email was routed to Parker's Pan Am group and the technical team at the Bioscience and Water Filtration Division. The customer included a phone number and location on the request but did not provide an email address. Due to the remoteness of the location, cell service was challenging. The team was able to reach out to the customer via Whatsapp — a social media application.
Little Hog Cay is the only private island in North Abaco with completely protected deep-water dockage. The island is approached from the Abaco Sound carrying depths of 12 feet or more at low tide. A 90-foot channel leads to a fully-enclosed 30 by 155-foot slipway with depths of 8 feet at low tide. Outside the slipway, on the Sound, a double-point Manta Mooring System is installed. In addition, shallow-draft vessels can be anchored inside the lagoon. The entrance is located on the Atlantic Ocean side and carries 6 feet of draft at low tide.
After the island was badly damaged in Hurricane Dorian, the system was rebuilt and reengineered. The off-grid solar-powered system had most of the 90 solar panels fixed or replaced, adding Enphase microinverters to each, and replacing all the destroyed lead acid battery banks with reclaimed lithium batteries from crashed Tesla vehicles as the power storage system. This installation was the first in the North American continent to use an entire Tesla Model 3 battery pack - 75 kWh of power storage. Also, there is an additional 45 kWh of Tesla Model S reclaimed batteries. This is supplemented with two small wind turbines that can produce a theoretical 2.8 kW of peak power, but realistically produce approximately 900 W, almost constantly.
Salt water requiring desalination. The island originally had a 1,200 GPD watermaker that was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. The owner was challenged by constant repairs and also determined the system was more than the needs of the island required. An analysis of time spent in the repair of the unit versus time running showed it would run for one day and then not for 3 weeks.
The intent was to produce water on a much more frequent basis (constantly when the sun shines), without a huge power draw. A smaller watermaker unit — the Parker Little Wonder LVM — was selected to match the needs. The system produces a continual supply without the noise of a traditional watermaker. In addition, the unit is set up to filter the clean water a second time (customer preference, but not required) to produce 9 ppm for ice and drinking water.
The customer built a smart monitoring system using Home Assistant (on a Raspberry Pi) that monitors the solar radiation from the island's Ambient Weather station. Based on the time of day and level of sun, it will switch on the Little Wonder watermaker. Three 33’ x 13’ water storage tanks are located below the pavilion. The smart system will switch on the Parker watermaker to ensure there is enough water for personal use and to run the auto irrigation systems.
The selection of the Little Wonder Modular (LVM) 145 watermaker with 12 VDC was ideal for use in the customer's remote location. The power source on the island was solar power and the LVM can run on 12 V power.
When the customer began installing the unit, he realized that due to his land-based application, the transfer pump needed to be reviewed. Even though a transfer pump was supplied with the Little Wonder LVM unit, installation is usually on a boat where the distance between the transfer pump and watermaker unit is relatively close. In this case, the transfer pump needed to supply the head pressure to move water from the salt water source to the watermaker unit mounted location. On the Little Wonder LVM 145, Parker supplied a raw water boost pump with a magnetic drive.
Parker's technical team reviewed the installation details provided by the customer. The technical team provided specific recommendations on the installation location for the transfer pump, which was as close to the source as possible. The Little Wonder LVM 145 requires .5 GPM, so a boost pump with 2-4 GPM was sufficient. A centrifugal pump was recommended by Greg Newman, Parker sales manager, to deliver 50 psi or less to the high-pressure pump. Technical schematics for the LVM unit were also provided.
Original message from the customer:
"Hi, I have the LWM 145 GPD watermaker unit - very cool!! I am setting it up on my island here to use to water my plants and make some drinking water and ice. I need to install a raw water pump to deliver the water to the unit. What PSI do I need to deliver the saltwater at and what flow rate? Thank you in advance."
Customer - Island Owner
The Village Marine Little Wonder Modular Series Watermaker is the ideal reverse osmosis desalination system for experienced sailors and boaters who require small low-power watermakers. Capable of producing up to 145 GPD (550 LPD), the Little Wonder is designed for cruising sail boats and land applications where space and power are limited and reliability is required. The system is simple to install and easy to operate. High-quality components ensure safety and years of reliable service. Featuring a compact, modular configuration, this desalinator is the most reliable, field serviceable, quiet, efficient and economical source of fresh water available on the market today.
Meters and monitors:
The fact that our application engineers across the country were able to find a way to reach out, answer questions, and provide the right recommendations for auxiliary products that keep customers supplied with clean fresh water is part of who we are at Parker. We always enjoy reading follow-up testimonials from the users of our products:
"The quality of the Little Watermaker is way better than any other desalination equipment I have used before (and I have used a lot). But the thing that really astounded me was the amazing quality of the support! I could not hold back my enthusiasm for the professionalism, and my amazement that I had finally found a company that is happy to embrace a modern communication standard (in this case WhatsApp) to ensure the products are working as they should!
Wow, you guys are AMAZING!! Literally - you have a customer for life and I will influence many, many, many others. I absolutely love the quality of the product, your manual/documentation and that you included a full schematic!! The point that you responded so quickly and on WhatsApp further confirms the professionalism of your company. I own a small island in the Bahamas - and companies like yours make it soo much easier to do what I need to do. Thank you very much!"
Customer - Island Owner
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.
This article was contributed by Paul Kamel, product manager II, Parker Bioscience and Water Filtration, and
Greg Newman, leisure sales manager, North American, Caribbean, South American, Parker Bioscience Water Filtration Division.
*Images supplied and approved for use by our confidential customer.