Safe Water

August 10th, 2008 by Pat Robertson

Thoughts from Pat

If you have been following the web site you know we have had lots of problems with our machine that manufactures safe water out of salt water. It has broken down three times and is untrustworthy. We went 280 miles out of our path to Iqaluit because the safe water unit split an end cap for the second time drenching the engine compartment again with salt water, especially on the number 2 main engine alternator and many of the electronics parts. This led to cascading electrical problems with failed charging circuits, drained batteries and the failure of the main engine starter when it stuck and got burned up when trying to start with low batteries. We repaired the safe water unit with parts that Charlotte got sent up to us. While we were on our way back out to sea from Iqaluit the unit broke again! We were now again through the ice field and headed north through Baffin Bay and didn’t want to turn back and determined to go ahead to Pond Inlet and have parts sent there. In the mean time we had about 90 gallons for 4 people for a week until we could get more water. So we went on water rationing for the second time. We decided we could only use one gallon per person per day including cooking and washing dishes and personal hygiene. We all went 5 days without a real shower, Shane took a shower on the back deck with ice cold salt water, burr! Walt, Kip and I took sponge baths with left-over dish water with bleach in it. We all were very careful with water consumption. In the six days at sea running 24 hours a day in rotating shifts we used about 40 gallons of water. We had trillions of gallons of water all around us and we couldn’t drink it. We were very careful and we used 1.6 gallons a day per person and that was with little or no fresh water showering!

This made me think deeply about the Safe Water devices that CityTeam is doing field trials with in Sierra Leone and in Ethiopia. You may not know but consuming unsafe water is the greatest cause of death around the world. Over 5000 children a day die of consuming the only water that is available to them. There is water available in most of those places but often it is contaminated water and makes those who drink it sick and the young and elderly often die from water borne diseases. This is a problem that is solvable with the availability of safe water and training in the basics of community sanitation practices. CityTeam is working with a scientist and inventor who designed an extraordinary Safe Water device which kills 99.9999% of pathogens in water using only a truck battery which can be recharged using solar panels. It is very simple and effective. The two safe water units cost about the same price, only the one on the boat because it is reverse osmosis requires a lot of power and has expensive consumables. The one on the boat provides in theory enough water for a small boat. The units CityTeam is installing provide enough safe water for 2000 people a day, a small village and have no consumables. They purify 2000 liters per hour which is 526 gallons an hour. The unit on the boat is 16 gallons per hour. CityTeam has purchased the first 10 units for the initial field trials and is testing them in real life situations in rural villages in Africa. I have been to all of those villages and have listened to the people and they know the water makes them sick and they know the water is killing their children. Our calculations are to provide 1-2 gallons per person per day. I must admit I really didn’t know what that really meant as I lived in such abundance I never had to ration myself to one gallon per day. When I flushed the toilet I used more safe water in one minute than 3-4 billion people had available to them in a day! Friends let me tell you one gallon a day is not very much water! I could not do it! Yet to hundreds of millions of people they have no other viable option except to drink bad water and watch their children die before their very eyes! I spoke to one woman a very articulate intelligent and passionate woman, she said, “Of course we know that this water from the river is bad for us and causes our children to die, but we drink it because we have no other alternative!” I have now experienced only in an extremely small way what billions of people must suffer through and most of them have NO safe water. We can and we should do something about that! To find out more go to and see how you can help save the lives of thousands even millions of children in Africa and Asia.

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I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go — Genesis 28:15