Autonomous Desalination System Concepts for Sea Water and Brackish Water in Rural Areas with Renewable Energies – Potentials, Technologies, Field Experience, Socio-Technical and Socio-Economic Impacts. (ADIRA)

Countries: Egypt
Level: Regional
Region: MENA Region
Tags: Agriculture | Capacity building & knowledge transfer
Target audience: Agricultural authorities | Environmental authorities | Industry/business | Local government/municipalities | National government | NGOs and CSOs | Regional government | Scientists | Water authorities | Water companies

The objective of the ADIRA project was to develop concepts to supply rural areas with fresh water derived from sea water or brackish water. The aim was to alleviate water shortages in areas with scarce water resources.

The project assessed water supply conditions in rural areas of the target countries, and selected suitable sites and operators for pilot installations. At the same time, institutional obstacles to the implementation of ADS (autonomous desalination) were identified. Technical information for the design and construction of each unit was collected, and training and awareness raising was carried out for designers, installers, future operators and water users.

More than 10 autonomous systems were installed in Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Cyprus and Jordan. Each system was tested for technological reliability. Finally, local stakeholders and authorities received assistance in developing concrete plans for operating the installations and transferring technology to the new sites.


Results obtained

  • Implementation, through an integral approach, of a large variety of different, small-scale, autonomous. desalination (ADS) technologies powered by renewable energy with an integral approach.
  • Acquired field experience in all project phases.
  • Transfer of technical knowledge about sustainable ADS concepts.
  • Development of social-technical implementation strategies.
  • Transfer of know-how to other regions and countries.
  • Delivery of handbooks.
  • Development of economical and legal masterplans for target countries.
  • Development of training materials.
  • Development of dissemination materials.
  • Organisation and delivery of workshops.
  • Development of an active expert network.

Success factors

  • Success is dependent on careful planning and execution of each phase.
  • Instead of developing new desalination technologies, existing concepts were adapted from various suppliers using renewable energy.
  • Decisions are taken with the help of cost-benefit analyses providing the most reliable inputs on technical, economic, and environmental aspects.
  • Transfer of know-how was accomplished through workshops and handbook delivery.

Indicators used

  •  Capacity of renewable water supply systems.
  • Level of availability of required information for each location in the survey areas (optimum desalination technology, economic operation scheme etc.).

The project can be implemented in all countries and regions that depend on sea water or brackish water. For rural areas in such countries and regions, autonomous desalination (ADS) can be a tool to overcome water shortage problems.

Preconditions to implement such projects

  • Collection, evaluation and assessment of data on water resources (e.g. data availability and type of water);
  • An analysis of the current water supply infrastructure and future plans;
  • Density of rural homes not connected to water pipelines;
  • Analysis of fresh water demand and capacity needed for domestic use, community use, industrial use and water for agriculture (frequency, usage, quantity and quality);
  • A general description of water supply problems in certain areas; and
  • An assessment of requirements of water quality, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).