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New Norwegian technology can secure drinking water

As of next month, around 8 million people in the South East of England will face water restrictions due to the severe shortage that two consecutive dry winters have caused. Using a water hose to clean your car or a sprinkler in your garden could land you with a £1000 fine. However, the UK water shortage is far from as critical as seen in other parts of the world where two Norwegian companies are now contributing equipment that can secure scarce water supplies.

There are many areas in the world where water is an extremely limited resource. When there are small supplies of the vital liquid available, it is even more important to secure what is there.

This is something the Norwegian companies Protan and Plastec have done. They have developed flexible containers or reservoirs, made of very thin, specially designed membrane that can hold large amounts of water. They recently developed a version that is also approved for drinking water.

In this manner, the companies can contribute to the UN's Millennium Development Goals of reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015.

"The advantage with these reservoirs being made of flexible membrane, is that is makes them lighter, durable and easy to transport," said Knut Gjefle, president of Plastec.

Plastec and Protan are both experienced in the field of water reservoirs. The companies recently installed a 15 000 cubic meter container in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, and during 2006 they will also install several 50 000 cubic meter reservoirs.

The bottom and the walls of these reservoirs are covered by the membrane, and lastly the surface is covered to prevent water evaporation. The companies' most recent membrane product, which is also approved for preserving drinking water, can be used in both temporary and permanent reservoirs. 

For more information about the UK water restrictions, click here.

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There is an acute shortage of safe drinking water in many parts of the world. This is a reservoir in Sombreiro in Mozambique. Both the tank and the membrane is produced in Norway by Plastec and Protan. Photo: Tore Schulze/Protan/Plastec

This 15 000 cubic meter reservoir in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates is covered with the specially designed membrane that secures the water resources.Photo: Tore Schulze/Protan/Plastec