Swedish island nature reserve goes off the water grid

A Swedish Baltic island seemingly renowned for its natural beauty is shifting away from its old water access model towards a self-reliant, local generation approach that creates on-demand clean drinking water direct from the sea. Water treatment technology firm Bluewater has issued an announcement about the system; the company is assisting with the overall design of the project, and the supply of components.

Aquifer reserves are said to be depleting fast due to the annual influx of 600,000 people every summer. The new water harvesting on Sandhamn Island, two hours boat ride from Stockholm, is the result of cooperation between the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) and Bluewater.

“We have used our ingenuity and technology to create a unique water harvesting and delivery system that turns brackish sea water into safe, fresh water on an island with just 90 full-time inhabitants that is experiencing aquifer exhaustion due to the huge number of visitors,” said Bluewater founder Bengt Rittri.

He said Sandhamn is just one of the 200 inhabited islands of some 30,000 islands in the Stockholm archipelago that are increasingly suffering water scarcity due to unsustainable demands placed upon the natural water reserves. The initiative has won the blessing of local authorities keen to reduce dependence on costly outmoded large-scale water delivery models and unsustainable single use plastic water bottles.

“Our micro renewable water generation grid creates a self-sustaining system capable of producing nearly 30,000 liters per day ending the need for visiting yachts at the KSSS Harbour and other tourists to use Sandhamn’s local water supply,” Said Magnus Woxén, Head of Operations at KSSS, which manages Sandhamn’s highly popular marina for summer visitors. The initiative follows a successful pilot in 2017 harnessing just one hydration station.

The Bluewater technology being used on Sandhamn harnesses four of the company’s compact Bluewater Pro water purifiers designed to handle brackish water. Each water purifier is able to generate 7,000 liters per day, which is then pumped into an inline series of 3 cisterns for onward delivery to a group of centrally located water points in the marina. A freestanding Bluewater hydration station delivers chilled still and sparkling water to visitors.

“We are moving towards a day when we won’t need to build and rely solely on large-scale water plants. Instead, we will have distributed water solutions where small water supply systems are in place near the point of consumption, which will be able to harvest water from multiple sources such as rain water, brackish water or surface water not deemed fit for human consumption previously, while also slashing the need for non-sustainable bottle water,” Bluewater President Anders Jacobson said.