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News
2015 March 4
  • Water and energy, also inseparable in the sea
  • The We Are Water constitutes a lab for testing and developing new technologies to obtain clean energy.
  • Bruno and Willy García embody the citizens of the future who through ICT manage their resources sustainably.
A smart city around the world

Without energy there is no water and without water there is no energy”. This principle, which was almost a slogan among experts from the water and energy sector, gathered at the 2014 Annual Conference of UN-Water held in Zaragoza last year (see the newsletter), is an absolute truth on board the We Are Water on its trip around the world. While the Foundation’s boat crossed the meridian of the Philippines project, Bruno and Willy García, its skippers, were anxious about the correct functioning of the water purifier on board, their only source of water. In the Indian Ocean, this had given them problems that they solved by themselves (see the newsletter) and at that moment, about to enter the South Pacific, they were ready to sail through the area of the Earth furthest away from human life, which is where they are now.

But in these inhospitable, cold and dangerous seas, the attention must be focused on another factor beyond water: electrical energy; without it, the only possibility of obtaining water on board is through the manual operating of the pump that propels the seawater into the purifier and provides the necessary pressure to produce the desalination by reverse osmosis. Manual operation, however, is very low in performance: you have to make more than 1,200 turns of the hand lever to obtain one litre of water. Thus, at a rhythm of one second per turn you need to 20 minutes to obtain a litre of water and, therefore, 100 minutes for the minimum 5 litres necessary for drinking and hydrating the lyophilised food. If this happens in tropical zones, the sweat produced by the intense effort needed to the hand lever may upset the hydric balance.

The value of each amp

In the South Pacific, the We Are Water has completed more than 13,000 miles sailed. This means 65% of the regatta. During this time electrical energy consumption of the boat has been approximately 12 amps per day. Of these, 6-7 amps have been used so that the purifier produces the 6-7 litres (5 as a minimum) of water, which is what is planned for consumption by the García brothers during the regatta.

Smart City 1

One amp per litre, a disproportionate proportion if we compare it with the electrical energy required so that water reaches the regular sanitation systems in cities and rural areas, which is much less. We should realise, however, that behind this amp per litre in the We Are Water is a technological development that aims to achieve sources of renewable energy that enable the purifier and the other electronic systems to work without burning a single gram of fuel; a technology that fully enters into the line of sustainable development that is the route map set after World Water Day 2014 which was held under the exact title of Water and Energy.

The yachtsman, in the heart of the ICT, works with a model of sustainable management

In this sense, the We Are Water, like all the boats in the Barcelona World Race, uses hydro-generators to avoid as much as possible the use of the alternator of the motor to charge the batteries. They are small spirals that submerge on the stern on the side of the rudder posts and, if the speed of the boat is suitable (about 15 knots on average), it can provide almost all the amperage necessary to charge the batteries. The Barcelona World Race has set as a goal to achieve a “zero emissions” round the world race in the near future ". This goal has been taken up by the IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association), the class that the boats competing in the Barcelona World Race belong to.

In this way, the boats from the IMOCA class and its regattas are not only laboratories of technological innovation but also radical test benches of their applications. Ensuring that the electricity necessary for a yacht to go round the world without consuming the 250-300 litres of diesel, which would normally be needed to charge the batteries with the motor, is an objective that has already been achieved with a combination of solar panels, hydro-generators and windmills.

On this path towards renewable energies, the yachtsman manages the energy and water using ICT models (Information and Communication Technologies) at a reduced scale that enables them to know at all times the energy balance of their boat. As states Jordi Barinaga, engineer and designer of the systems of the We Are Water, "In the end, at the heart of all ICT systems it is the yachtsman who makes it smart".

Smart City 2

It is a model that is applicable not only to cities, but also to the plans to recover areas deprived by the action of natural disasters, such as the Haiyan typhoon, in which the storm razed both the sanitation and the systems of electrical energy distribution. The recovery of these devastated areas is based on the integration of each of the inhabitants into the management model of hydric resources. This is the best guarantee so that the effort of recovery generates sustainable infrastructures, such as that being undertaken by World Vision with the collaboration of the We Are Water Foundation in the Philippine province of Leyte, the area most damaged by the terrible typhoon. Efficient management involves training, and it is the trained people who can thus guarantee the sustainability of any system. Bruno and Willy García are teaching us every day in the Barcelona World Race.

Remember that you can follow the Argo buoy that Bruno and Willy García launched at the We Are Water buoy page.

About the We Are Water Foundation

The We Are Water Foundation, promoted by the Roca company, has as objectives, on the one hand, to raise awareness amongst the general public and the administrations about the need to promote a new culture of water and, on the other hand, relieve the negative effects related to the lack of hydric resources, through the development of cooperation and aid programmes alongside diverse organisations such as Education without Frontiers, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, Intermón Oxfam and UNICEF.

News
2015 February 16
  • Bruno and Willy García repair the water treatment device while crossing the meridian of India.
  • Managing drinking water on board is fundamental in order to finish the regatta and a constant invitation to reflection.
Water, the most appreciated asset on board

Passing the Indian meridian coincided with a failing in the water treatment device on board the We Are Water (see the video of Willy García on board the We Are Water). “Today we have had a problem with the water treatment device, the machine that makes freshwater, and for an hour and a half, which is the time it took to find the fault, we were rather anxious”, explained Willy García by e-mail, “If the rudder or mast break you have to withdraw from the regatta, but if you find yourself without drinking water, you have a serious problem”. The water treatment device (see the video of Cali Sanmartí and Carlos Pich) is the only source of drinking water of board and we should realise that on an ocean regatta yacht water is not only needed for drinking but also for eating, since the lyophilised food needs water to be rehydrated.

The water

The breakdown of the water treatment device occurred in a remote area, some 1,600 nautical miles from the nearest port, which was in the Australian city of Freemantle. The scientific colony on the Kerguelen islands were 600 miles southwest of the We Are Water, but was located within an exclusion zone of the regatta, the danger zone of floating ice, and this would have meant abandoning the regatta through disqualification. In the best of situations, if the water treatment device had broken down and Bruno and Willy García had decided to set course for the Kerguelen islands, they would have had to sail for two days without drinking a drop of water.

The importance of each drop

This situation shows the importance that water management acquires on an ocean regatta yacht. These boats do not transport stored water, since this would mean extra weight, unviable for the boat’s competitiveness. It would also mean a problem of storage on board of a boat with very spartan interiors, in which every centimetre of space has a very specific mission. The water treatment device (or desalinator) becomes the fountain of life of the boat; a fountain from which springs a meagre trickle of water of which not a single drop can be wasted.

We are completely accustomed to turning on the tap at home or going to the supermarket to buy water, and on board you realise how important it is and the importance of the message we are taking around the world”, stated Willy García in the videoconference.

While this was happening, more than 3,600 miles north, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in central India, the farmers were waiting for the return of the summer monsoon; the crops from which their families and millions of people live on depend on them.

Water is managed drop by drop there too. In the projects in which the We Are Water Foundation collaborates with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, water is the most appreciated asset, a gift of nature that is collected in small reservoirs, reaching the farmers via wells and pumps, and distributed to the crops by means of drip irrigation. It is also vital to make the utmost use of every cubic centimetre of water, lose the minimum amount due to evaporation and ensure each drop reaches the roots of the plants.

The water

Bruno and Willy could sail thirsty to a port, but once there their suffering would end. In many parts of the world, water, which normally the women are entrusted to attain, is several kilometres away, and this water is increasingly scarce. Moreover, water is the unifying force of poor regions, the solution to avoid the uprooting of small farmers and livestock breeders who are forced to immigrate to the slums of the big cities.

The problem with the desalinator of the We Are Water invites another reflection: consumption. On an ocean regatta yacht, the daily consumption of a yachtsman is around 2.5 litres, approximately half of that consumed by an inhabitant of Hindeysa, in Ethiopia, and some 150 litres less than that consumed by an average European!

The We Are Water continues its route eastwards and on the 12 February went around the Australian Cape Leeuwin, the second great cape of the route, and the day before yesterday crossed the meridian of the Philippines project, where the Foundation works with World Vision to rehabilitate the water and sanitation systems of those affected by the Haiyan typhoon. The message continues being sent around the world.

Remember that you can follow the evolution of the Argo buoy that Bruno and Willy García launched at the page of the We Are Water buoy.

About the We Are Water Foundation

The We Are Water Foundation, promoted by the Roca company, has as objectives, on the one hand, to raise awareness amongst the general public and the administrations about the need to promote a new culture of water and, on the other hand, relieve the negative effects related to the lack of hydric resources, through the development of cooperation and aid programmes alongside diverse organisations such as Education without Frontiers, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, Intermón Oxfam and UNICEF.

News
2015 January 30
  • Bruno and Willy García cross the first three meridians of the Foundation’s projects in the Barcelona World Race.
  • The yachtsmen become first-hand witnesses to the climatic contrast of the Earth and invite us to reflect.
  • The launch of the Argo buoy, the first scientific action of the We Are Water in the regatta.
Contrasts for a reflection

When sailing you realise that there very different climatic zones. There are humid zones, and other desert and warm ones. But access to water is not something that is being solved. Sometimes there are places where there is torrential rain, but this does not mean that the water we gather is drinkable”.

These words of Bruno García, broadcast on Tuesday in a videoconference via satellite, when the We Are Water was just about to cross the third meridian which corresponds to Ghana of the Foundation’s projects, shows how the trip around the world in a regatta such as the Barcelona World Race is a valuable platform for transmitting a message of reflection about the delicate balance of water on a planet of contrasts such as ours.

WAW1

Three meridians, three climates, three problems to solve

The first three meridians correspond to the projects in Guinea-Bissau, Morocco and Ghana. When the We Are Water crossed them, it was right in the middle of the low pressure from the South Atlantic. There is very little meteorological variation for Bruno and Willy: grey sky, rain, humidity and strong wind; a massive contrast to west Africa, where the Foundation works: dry trade winds in Guinea-Bissau, in the heart of the dry season; crystalline calm in the arid mountains of Zagora, in Morocco; and dry north-easterly wind, from the desert, in Zabzugu, in northern Ghana, where in January the rivers and streams have already dried up, and the women begin the long walks in search of water.

The yachtsmen in the Barcelona World Race are first-hand witnesses to these contrasts and are in full contact with the natural phenomena that cause them. The water cycle is the driving force of life on Earth and the ocean its main generator. “Seawater and freshwater are interrelated”, stated Bruno García, “we are alone in the immensity of the ocean and, on sailing, you realise its beauty, its vitality. Its life is essential for the balance of the planet”.

WAW2

The Argo buoy launched by the We Are Water is already sending data

Bruno and Willy García launch their message in the context of a regatta which is a pioneer in bringing together sport with oceanographic research, and in scientific diffusion. One of the goals is the collaboration with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, with projects about average salinity and temperature of seawater, the study of the concentration of micro-plastics, and of the quality of seawater.

One of these projects is the launching of a buoy, Argo, something that all the boats in the Barcelona World Race have done. The Argo buoys are mini-submarines that drop to as much as 2,000 metres and later emerge sending very precise data of the temperature and salinity of the sea. This information is crucial for the oceanographic study of the behaviour of the large masses of water, key in understanding the climatic evolution of the planet. (Find out more about the Argo buoys)

The We Are Water launched its buoy in the South Atlantic on the 23 January, in the 35.1495 S, 23.1056 W in an area of which oceanologists have very little information. You can follow the evolution of the buoy of We Are Water from the tracker of the Barcelona World Race and see its more detailed position and data it sends on the page of the We Are Water buoy.

The We Are Water continues its route eastwards and tomorrow will enter the Indian Ocean. The next meridians it will cross will be those of Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The message is still going around the world. (Go to the meridians page).

WAW3

You can follow the Barcelona World Race of the We Are Water at:

https://www.wearewater.org/en/tracking-we-are-water_149130?section=148709

You can see the projects of the We Are Water Foundation at:

https://www.wearewater.org/en/active-projects_95964

About the We Are Water Foundation

The We Are Water Foundation, promoted by the Roca company, has as objectives, on the one hand, to raise awareness amongst the general public and the administrations about the need to promote a new culture of water and, on the other hand, relieve the negative effects related to the lack of hydric resources, through the development of cooperation and aid programmes alongside diverse organisations such as Education without Frontiers, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, Intermón Oxfam and UNICEF.

News
2015 January 20
  • The We Are Water sails in a Barcelona World Race, pioneer in the projection of scientific knowledge and solidarity inherent in ocean sailing.
  • Bruno and Willy García, skippers of the We Are Water, are exceptional carriers of the solidarity message of the Foundation in the 14 meridians of its projects and in 12 climatic zones of the planet.
  • The need to understand that the health of the ocean is vital to contemplate a sustainable world is one of the main educational and communicative objectives of this third two-handed round the world regatta.
One planet, one ocean… one water

This is the second time that the We Are Water has taken part in the Barcelona World Race with the theme of There are messages that have to go around the world. Bruno and Willy García take over the pendant that in the previous 2010/11 regatta was carried by Jaume Mumbrú and Cali Sanmartí, and carry the message of the Foundation in the only two-handed round the world regatta without stops.

14 meridians for just one message

Jaume and Cali sailed around the world crossing the eight meridians of the projects that the Foundation was undertaking. After four years, the completed projects and those in progress number 20, and are grouped into 14 meridians that are those that the García brothers will cross.

NL_WAW

These meridians, in the order in which the We Are Water will cross them, correspond to the projects in Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, Ghana, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Bangla Desh, Philippines, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil.

This project has several aspects, sporting, human and of solidarity, and for us, the union of the three is basic” stated Bruno García shortly before setting sail. The message of the We Are Water Foundation travels once again to spread knowledge about the serious lack of water and sanitation in large parts of the planet, and to raise awareness in the world about the need for immediate action.

One water

The scientific and technological development in the interests of sustainability has been one of the main philosophical lines with which the Barcelona World Race was founded. Now in its third editions, the regatta has been a pioneer in ocean sailing on forming a platform of experimentation and communication to collaborate with oceanographic science with the aim of improving knowledge about the ocean and sending out warning and awareness-raising messages before the clear alteration of seawater.

NL WAW

In this year’s Barcelona World Race these messages are boosted by the scientific and education projection of the regatta, which is collaborating closely with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), and goes deeper into its slogan One Planet, One Ocean with the intention of explaining to the world that the problems of planet Earth cannot be isolated one from the other. These were the conclusions reached by the scientists who met in Barcelona at the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference last November, the most important oceanographic event of the decade, organised by the IOC-UNESCO together with the Barcelona Ocean Navigation Foundation (FNOB), the organising body of the Barcelona World Race and in which the We Are Water Foundation took part.

Scientific agents and key witnesses

During recent decades scientific advances have been increasing intrinsically linked to a sustainable vision of the world in which solidarity is an essential human factor in any knowledge-development project. These principles form part of the DNA of the sport of ocean sailing which, since the creation of the first regattas, has constituted an enormous platform of knowledge and awareness of the problems of the sea, and yachtsmen have been front-line ambassadors of them.

NL_WAW

The We Are Water, and its regatta colleagues, will navigate on its journey through 12 of the climatic zones of the world; they will go through the remote Austral ocean, a very little-studied region that is key in understanding climate change, where they will launch a buoy, Argo, to collect vital data about the salinity and temperature of the sea. Bruno and Willy will be key witnesses of the state of the oceans, of changes in sea life, of the meteorological phenomena and of the evolution of the Antarctic thaw. They will inform us of their experiences and will enable us to experience close-up the relationship between all the phenomena that depend on the water cycle on the Earth.

You can follow the Barcelona World Race of the We Are Water at:

http://www.wearewater.org/es/we-are-water-y-la-barcelona-world-race_148709

You can see the projects of the We Are Water Foundation at:

http://www.wearewater.org/es/proyectos-activos_95964

About the We Are Water Foundation

The We Are Water Foundation, promoted by the Roca company, has as objectives, on the one hand, to raise awareness amongst the general public and the administrations about the need to promote a new culture of water and, on the other hand, relieve the negative effects related to the lack of hydric resources, through the development of cooperation and aid programmes alongside diverse organisations such as Education without Frontiers, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, Intermón Oxfam and UNICEF.

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