'No Plastic' Approach to Delivering Clean Water


When a cyclone damages or destroys the water catchment and storage systems on a remote island, the need for clean drinking water is at the top of the emergency aid lists. Unfortunately, the most common response from NGO's and governments is to purchase and deliver thousands of plastic water bottles to the communities in need. Although the ‘plastic water bottles’ response meets the initial need, it is not self-sustaining and will require additional deliveries until roofs are rebuilt, gutters installed and catchment tanks are back in place. These water bottles not only take up the valuable shipping space and carrying capacity needed for other emergency aid, they ultimately end up in landfills and polluting the fragile local reefs and fishing grounds. This well meaning approach often ends up replacing one disaster with another.


Sea Mercy is an NGO that is always stepping outside of the ‘status quo’ circle when it comes to our disaster response, health care and economic service deliver programs for the remote islands of the South Pacific. Our effective, self-sustaining and no plastic approach for delivering emergency drinking water following a natural disaster is Water Filteration, Water Generation, and Water Catchment.

Water Filtration
When your only source of drinking and cooking water is from nearby pools and rivers (your water catchment system has been destroyed), your chance of getting contaminated water from human and animal feces is a recipe for disease and death. What is needed is an interim solution to clean the available ground water. Instead of plastic bottles, Sea Mercy delivers Sawyer and Wateroam water filters to ‘at risk’ families and small villages. One low cost filter vs. thousands of plastic bottles, allows a family or village to remove contaminants from available ground water (self-sustaining).

Water Generation
Although the water catchment systems (building roof and gutters) are gone, the large water storage tanks sitting next to them are often still usable once cleaned. Sea Mercy is converting high production desalination units (like our Spectra LB2800 desalination unit) into easily portable ones that can operate from one of our many volunteer yachts. With distribution hoses and pumps, our ‘water’ vessels can sit offshore and produce thousands of gallons a day, quickly refilling village water tanks and providing enough clean drinking water for months. We then reschedule vessel rotations that refill the tanks as needed.

Water Catchment
The faster we can reestablish effective water catchment systems in a village, the more self-sustaining they will become and the less we will need to send vessels back to refill water storage tanks. Sea Mercy and DRIFTA have partnered in designing and delivering an effective and self-sustaining emergency shelter/water catchment solution SMART Rain Tarp for disaster response needs where desalination or filtering are not available.

Help us to keep plastic water bottles out of disaster response programs by supporting our filtration, generation and catchment programs and equipment. Below is a secure donation button link for you.

Thank you!

Scroll to Top