This island’s “water microgrid” is saving its aquifer from tourists

The tiny island of Sandhamn lies around 30 miles east of mainland Sweden in the Baltic Sea, at the edge of the Stockholm Archipelago. Though the island is home to only around 90 full-time residents, 600,000 vacationers flock to the tiny outpost, which some call the “Swedish Hamptons,” each year. And that influx puts an unbearable strain on the island’s water systems. Sandhamn’s natural aquifer reserves can only handle the basics: delivering water to year-round residents and the island’s restaurants and hotels. To stay hydrated, visitors have traditionally had to opt for bottled water. [Photo: Bluewater] Through a partnership with the water technology company Bluewater , though, that’s changing. Bluewater develops proprietary water-purification systems that use the process of reverse osmosis, a relatively common water purification tactic in which a membrane removes ions, molecules, and large pollution particles from water. Bluewater has installed four of its purifiers along the Sandhamn coast, where they extract water from the Baltic Sea, run it through the network of filters, and produce up to 30,000 liters of drinking water per day for newly arrived tourists. The “reject water” leftover from the purification is funneled to the utilities, re-filtered, and used for purposes like […]

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