March 28, 2024


In September 2023, Moerk Water Engineers installed a solar powered groundwater treatment system at an Indigenous Australian vocational school in South Western Australia. The school had issues maintaining their water supplies during the dry summer months when water demand was high. Rainwater harvesting was not an option due to the low volumes available onsite and the groundwater underneath the school has high salinity, high silica and extremely high hardness. Moerk Water designed a reverse osmosis unit capable of producing 4000 L/hr of Australian Drinking Water Guideline compliant water using the salty groundwater as feed. The treatment unit is containerised and maintained locally by trained personnel who are remotely supported by Moerk Water Engineers.

There was insufficient power available onsite to run the water treatment unit, so Moerk Water designed and installed a 45 kWp solar array with a 60 kWh battery bank as backup to allow the water treatment system to run on solar power during the day and battery power in the evening. The solar system is designed so some panels are used to run the machine directly during the day while separate inverters charge the battery bank, allowing it to run at night. Once the direct solar power is insufficient to operate the treatment system (late in the afternoon or during cloud events), the unit seamlessly switches to battery back up. When running on battery power alone the system can operate for 7-8 hours (assuming the battery bank is fully charge) meaning that the total daily operating time of the treatment unit when the operational time on direct solar is included is 14-18 hours a day (dependent on seasonal solar irradiation).

Even though the unit has only been operational for a little over six months, it has already produced over 1.6 million litres, supporting the school during an extremely dry period, which allowed students to attend the school during summer. Due to the amount of clean water the school can now reliably produce onsite, they will begin using the water to green the playing field and other facilities.

To learn more about how Moerk Water can support your remote water supply, contact us here.