Renowned portable water purification specialists Otterpack LLC are expanding even further into the African market and are in discussions with countries across Africa for their innovative, energy-independent, high-capacity reverse osmosis system.
Applications for the water purification system cover non-governmental organisation, the military and police forces, immediate reaction disaster management support organisations and wildlife management entities.
For special forces, the use of Otterpack systems in their reconnaissance and emergency Forward Ops Bases roles, provides long-term support independence, reducing the chance of enemy detection. Even water that is left poisoned by terrorists can be purified.
As an example, Angola’s border police are already successfully using the Otterpack water purification system, and promising discussions are underway with countries including Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique.
Otterpack LLC believes its system is ideal for long-term border protection patrols in remote areas – something of increasing importance given the need for more secure borders amid the coronavirus pandemic. Other applications include counter-insurgency operations and anti-poaching activity, particularly in countries like Botswana and Mozambique.
The Otterpack system is also of great interest to non-governmental organisations, especially for disaster relief when clean drinking water becomes difficult to access, or when there are outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera. The system is also well suited to providing potable water in remote areas that lack water treatment infrastructure – according to the World Health Organisation, 785 million people around the world lack access to safe drinking water, and contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.
Other non-military applications include any remote operations where it is difficult to carry large quantities of water, such as mining exploration in inaccessible areas and other instances where people have to operate from remote bases.
Otterpack’s water filtration system is of great interest to counter-poaching services/game rangers especially where water holes are poisoned – the system can easily purify poisoned water. In recent years, for example, hundreds of elephants have been poisoned in Zimbabwe by poachers putting cyanide in drinking holes, posing a threat to animal and human water sources.
The Otterpack system was originally developed for the Israeli Defence Forces by an American company (formerly Alex Deutsch Technologies Ltd), which has been in operation since 1972. Israel requested portable water purification systems in 2012 and testing of Otterpack’s system was completed two years later. In 2020 the product was also selected by the US Army for its Manoeuvre Support, Sustainment and Protection Integration Experiments 2021.
The current Otterpack system is the first hybrid, easily portable water purification system based on reverse osmosis. It is an energy independent, fully portable (only 19 kg) water purification system ideal for militaries, survivalists and disaster relief agencies. It can supply up to two litres of drinking water per minute from any land water source. It can be operated manually or electrically (through a rechargeable battery) and protects against chemical/biological contamination. As such it meets United States TBMED 577 and NATO STANAG 2136 standards.
Amongst the many contaminants Otterpack will remove are COVID-19, salmonella, hepatitis A, cholera, arsenic, mercury, asbestos, chromium, barium, benzene and many more bacteria, viruses, pesticides/herbicides, chemicals and radionuclides.
To operate the system, a water hose is simply dropped into the water source and a handle is rotated to produce pure water. Strainers, filters and reverse osmosis membranes are used to purify the water. The system provides clear and simple water quality monitoring and membranes replacement notification. Otterpack’s submersible pump gives users tactical superiority in the operational environment with the ability to pump water from a depth of up to 12 metres and distance up to 15 metres.
Otterpack LLC notes that a major limitation of mobility is the need to carry fresh water. An individual must carry 4 to 10 litres of water for each day they will be in the field without re-supply. Purification systems have up until now been too large for a single soldier to carry, hence Otterpack has revolutionised the way mobile units worldwide view water purification and delivery challenges. Otterpack’s solution provides a tactical advantage on the field.
While Otterpack is aimed at militaries, particularly special operations and border guard forces, it is also used by civilian communities in Africa for water purification, and is also highly suitable for disaster relief operations when clean water is no longer available.