Clean water boosts capabilities for peacekeeping mission

| March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
Personnel visiting Nepal's Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre during Exercise Shanti Prayas III test drinking water purified from a water purification system installed as part of the Net Zero initiative. The Net Zero initiative, which focuses on power, water and waste remediation, is a pilot program that relies on the usage of solar power with minimum generator back up as an option to be more self-sufficient. With this initiative, the BPOTC, now armed with a water purification system using these energy options, can now produce nearly 5,000 gallons of clean water per day. (U.S. Navy photo by PO2 Taylor Mohr)

Personnel visiting Nepal’s Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre during Exercise Shanti Prayas III test drinking water purified from a water purification system installed as part of the Net Zero initiative. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Mohr)

Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

PANCHKHAL, Nepal — For many developing nations, clean water is a luxury, not the standard.

To have clean water, these nations have to either purify it, which uses a lot of energy, or have they ship it in from elsewhere, which entails negotiating the logistics of getting it to and from the designated sites.

With this in mind, the leadership of the U.S. Pacific Command and Nepal’s Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre (BPOTC) came up with a more energy-efficient solution that allowed for the production of clean water without the logistics associated with delivery.

The result is a pilot program known as the Net Zero initiative, which focuses on power, water and waste remediation. Net Zero relies on solar power with minimum generator backup to be more self-sufficient.

With this initiative, the BPOTC, now armed with a water purification system using these energy options, can produce nearly 5,000 gallons of clean water per day.

“This system provides value in the training center. … The Soldiers who are consuming the water are going to get World Health Organization-quality drinking water,” said Bill Garland of the Operation of Secretary of Defense, Acquisition Logistics and Technology Office. “The idea is to give Soldiers reliable, clean drinking water that they can trust and just refill their canteens, and not have bottled water trucked in.”

The water purification system, which is manufactured by Aspen, was selected because of its previous deployments with U.S. Army and Special Operations Forces. Among leaders, the system was seen as an ideal way to purify non-saline water.

Capable of producing 22,000 liters, or almost 6,000 gallons, of water per day for the BPOTC, the system has exceeded expectations in water production and power usage.

“We always connect water purification with large amounts of energy,” said Garland. “In this case, this system is the most energy-efficient product per watt and gallon on the market.”

With clean water, the BPOTC is able to increase the number of troops trained and reduce the number of man hours needed to transport water and associated waste.

Often tasked with hosting and training a battalion-sized element on peacekeeping operations, the BPOTC directly benefits from having the water purification system on site.

“This system helps in the sense that we don’t have to look at an alternate source for water,” said Col. Prayog Rana, commandant of the BPOTC. “Also, the chances of someone getting sick because of waterborne disease is reduced a tremendous amount.”

Rana said that the implementation of the purification system would allow for a boost in operational capabilities for the BPOTC.

“Twenty-thousand liters of water per day will be surplus to what we can consume daily,” Rana said. “It is a big boost to the drinking requirements for this institution.”

Rana also mentioned that the purification system could allow the BPOTC to support the local population after a natural disaster and to share clean water with other military facilities in Nepal.

Though the absolute benefits of the program and purification system may not be seen in it’s entirety at this time, those involved are excited about what it could mean for Nepal in the future.

“What we’re learning from our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, we focus on being effective, but we sometimes forget that a variable of effectiveness is efficiency, said Garland. “That’s what we’re trying to bring in to the U.N. peacekeeping operation.”

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Category: Community Relations, DVIDS, Leadership, News, Safety, Sustainability

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