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The Maldives' name comes from the Sanskrit words meaning "a flower wreath made of islands." As the name suggests, the Republic of Maldives is comprised of coral reefs and about 1200 islands in the Indian Ocean. In recent years, tourism and fishing have fueled the nation's rapid economic growth, but water shortages have become a serious problem for this tropical paradise.
Malé is the capital city of the Maldives with a population of 130,000. The city is on Malé Island, which doesn't have rivers or lakes. So the city has always relied upon rain and ground water to supply its needs. However, the island has run out of space for facilities to store rain water, and the ground water has increasingly become unsuitable for drinking due to contamination from sewage and salinity from seawater. Securing water resources and improving water infrastructure have now become urgent issues for the Maldives government.
In our water treatment business, Hitachi strives to contribute to the development of local communities around the world, developing solutions to fit each area's natural environment while also respecting the way that water has been seen and used in the local culture. Hitachi has applied these principles in the Maldives and has been working on comprehensive and sustainable solutions to address the water challenges facing the islands.
In 2009, Hitachi established Hitachi Aqua-Tech Engineering Pte. Ltd. by acquiring Aqua-Tech Engineering and Supplies Pte. Ltd. a manufacturer of desalination systems in Singapore that had been supplying desalination equipment to the Maldives.
In 2010, the Hitachi Group responded to a request from the Maldives government for foreign investment and acquired 20% of the shares in Malé Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) Pvt. Ltd. Since then, Hitachi has been involved in its operations and has helped to improve operations in water and sewage treatment in the Maldives.
MWSC is producing 17 million liters (4.5 million gallons) of drinking water per day
Currently, MWSC is managing stable operations for eight units equipped with reverse osmosis (RO) systems for desalination of ground water that is pumped out from wells in the facility. The water produced under rigorous safety management procedures has been distributed throughout Malé Island for a wide range of uses, including swimming pools and showers in the hotels as well as for use at the fish market.
The MWSC facility also has a bottling plant. The desalinated water bottled there has been distributed and sold throughout the city, enriching the lives of residents and visitors in the Maldives.
With desalination, the fish market now has plenty of safe, clean water to deal with the catch of the day
A bottling plant for drinking water is adjacent to the desalination facility
Bottled drinking water has been distributed widely in the capital of Malé and to other resort islands in the Maldives
In the Maldives, Hitachi is particularly focused on building Intelligent Water Systems. It's a unique approach from Hitachi that considers water infrastructure not just by the flow of water but also by the flow of information. The system includes AQUAMAP technology, which is a centralized information management system that uses engineering schematics of the water supply networks and integrates them with existing water management and geographical information systems. With its enhanced monitoring capabilities, the system has enabled operators to centralize management and provide timely information relating to service, such as notice of water service disruptions for maintenance work, that helps people in their daily lives. In its first stage, the system has already improved the stability of the water supply in the Maldives. Hitachi is planning to further enhance the use of information technology by creating an inter-island network system where information from the seawater desalination systems operating on the various islands can be centralized and managed on Malé Island.
Hitachi has also delivered desalination systems to countries and regions other than the Maldives. In doing so, Hitachi has also been providing supportive services for local operators in other countries and regions along with delivering seawater desalination systems to ensure the sustainable operation of the systems. In Tuvalu and Palau, where Hitachi's desalination systems have been put into service, Hitachi Aqua-Tech has been providing operational instruction and technological support for the systems, and MWSC has been providing comprehensive educational training for water supply businesses that includes construction methods for water supply networks, customer service and water quality testing.
Using these efforts as model case studies, Hitachi continues to contribute to solving water problems around the world, providing solutions for island and coastal nations that are facing problems similar to those in the Maldives.
Release Date: December 2013
Solutions By: Hitachi, Ltd. Water Business Unit