Solar-powered Desalination for Villages in Somaliland


Solar energy is facilitating the water supply in the town of Caynabo in Somaliland. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has funded a solar-powered water pumping and desalination system in this internationally unrecognized nation located northwest of Somalia.


The solar desalination system is installed by the Uganda-based Aptech Africa Ltd., an EPC company that specializes in providing clean electricity and water via the implementation of renewable energy projects. The reverse osmosis plant with a capacity of 45 m3/s was supplied by the Italian company Genius Watter.


The water pumping and desalination system are connected with a 41 kWp solar photovoltaic system. The water is extracted by the solar-powered pumps and fed into the hydraulic container. A series of valves are fitted to the pump to ensure its proper working.


According to Aptech, the project is radically transforming the lives of Caynabo. The location for this water pumping and desalinization project was chosen because of its proximity to a well and the site is situated in the center of Caynabo.

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In Caynabo, thousands of people still do not have a clean and secure water supply, with most households do not have access to even 5 liters of water per day. The people living in this municipality of the Sool region have to cover long distances to collect brackish water from wells constructed by the Somaliland government.

The new facility will benefit the more than 7,000 inhabitants of Caynabo and an additional 3,000 people in the nearby villages. The pumping and desalination system is equipped with taps to ensure the water supply, and trucks are provided to transport the water throughout the commune.

The Sool region is facing drought for a long time and now relies on the desalinization of its groundwater to supply its people. In 2020, a locality named Oog in the region benefited from a solar-powered desalination system that was installed by the German start-up company Boreal Light.

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