Water is life. It is a commodity without which it would not be possible to sustain human life on earth. However, millions of people across the globe still lack access to a regular water supply and good sanitation. In fact, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, while two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility. In spite of these daunting challenges, the United Nations has set ensuring access to water and sanitation for all as the sixth of its 17Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN hopes to achieve this goal by the year 2030.
Global Commodities Forum
Session 2 of the upcoming UNCTAD Global Commodities Forum will deal with the topic “Solutions to Address Water Challenges”. It will bring together local and international experts to discuss some solutions both in terms of increasing supply and reducing demand on water resources. The UNCTAD Global Commodities Forum is being hosted virtually by Barbados from 13 to 15 September 2021.
This is a subject which is of particular interest to a water-scarce country like Barbados. So when the Office of the National Coordinator for UNCTAD 15 learned about a pioneering local company which is “making water out of thin air”, we were intrigued and set out to find out more. A small contingent recently headed to the rural district of Walkes Spring, St. Thomas, to get a first-hand look at the operations of Eco Sky Water.
Owner Kyle Taylor and Operations Manager Philip Laflouf took us on a tour of the plant.
Eco Sky Water Tour
The company has found an environmentally sustainable water source, using hydro panels to extract humidity from the air and convert it to water. These panels use solar power to charge a small battery and can work to produce water whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or night.
Every aspect of the company’s operations is considerate of the environment. The whole operation is completely off the grid, powered by solar and battery power. Although there is a backup line to the electric grid just in case it’s ever needed.
Their product is available in two types of container. Firstly, 750 ml glass bottles which are reused. Once the bottles are returned to Eco Sky Water, they are washed and sanitized. Waste water is channelled to the surrounding organic farm where vegetables, fruit trees and edible flowers are being grown. Wooden pallets are recycled to make crates for the bottles.
The water is also offered in 500 ml bottles made of 100% non-GMO corn and water. These containers are composted and break down within 75 days or less. The compost is put back into the earth to help fertilize the soil. There is zero waste and no byproduct.
From Barbados to the World
Mr. Taylor is passionate about seeing his project replicated everywhere, so that environmentally-sustainable water is available in homes, schools and businesses throughout Barbados.
He told us, “In addition to our sustainable bottling, we want to present our overall solution of making water which can be done anywhere, and the impact it can have on water depressed areas, without bottling.”
Having demonstrated the viability of the operation on a small scale in Barbados, he’s also in discussion to take the concept to other parts of the world.
That sentiment echoes the mantra of the UNCTAD 15 Conference host country organizers, “from Barbados to the world”.