Joint Operations water purification units in action in the DRC


The South African National Defence Force’s Joint Operations (JOps) division has taken delivery of several water purification systems manufactured by ELW Global and is using them in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of South Africa’s contribution to the United Nations mission there.

Four ELW Global ROWPU (Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit) 2K trailers were delivered to Joint Operations in early March this year, with training for South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel being carried out in Springs, Johannesburg, ahead of delivery to the DRC. Providing instruction on the units takes around four days.

ELW’s flagship ROWPU 2K is a trailer mounted water purification system, which, when utilizing the reverse osmosis process, produces a minimum of 2 000 litres per hour of potable water and 5 000 litres per hour of World Health Organisation standard safe drinking water if reverse osmosis is not required. The system uses a 5 KVA generator, it is independent of the grid and suitable for remote operations.

The company recently announced their ROWPU 2K is available in South Africa on a rental base. This allows municipalities to provide rapidly deployable temporary water purification capacity.

The standard ROWPU trailer has storage bladders for 5 000 to 20 000 litres of water, a pick-up hose for pumping water into the unit, a 15 metre supply hose, diesel generator and water testing kits. If the water purification requirement is permanent, ELW Global can build its technology into shipping containers, prefabricated or fixed buildings.

ELW has previously sold desalination units to the South African Air Force, which bought eight vehicle-mounted units a couple of years ago for border patrol duties. These can desalinate 600 litres of water an hour. It is believed they are deployed on the border with Botswana, where the water is very brackish.

To date ELW Global have successfully delivered and commissioned water purification units into Cameroon, Senegal, Malawi, Somalia, Darfur (Sudan), Haiti, Botswana and Burkina Faso, Senegal and South Africa. The company has supported United Nations programmes in Darfur (UNAMID), Somalia (AMISOM) and Mali (MINUSMA).