New rainwater harvesting system collects 30,000 litres per day
Pioneering luxury eco retreat Frégate Island Private in the Seychelles has successfully completed the installation of the first phase of its new rainwater harvesting system, with average daily rainfall yielding around 30,000 litres of collected rainwater – enough to provide up to approximately 60 per cent of the island’s water requirements. Encouraged by the results, Frégate Island Private will now press ahead with phase two, doubling the collection area so that the island need rely on nothing more than the heavens above for its water needs!
Rainwater is currently collected from half of the total roof surface area of the back-of-house buildings via a system of gutters and pipes, with capacity to harvest up to 60,000 litres per day. The rainwater collects in intermediate tanks before being pumped through a filtration system - making it safe to drink - and into the island’s main water system, which can store over 450,000 litres.
The Seychelles’ rainy season, which runs from November to March, is characterised by sharp, heavy showers which quickly clear, to be replaced by sunshine and blue skies. On completion of phase two, average rainfall should allow Frégate to harvest and store approximately 6 million litres of water over the course of an average year - enough to cover the entire island’s needs.
Because of its natural softness, harvested rainwater produces better results from the quality of cooking through to laundry and other machine operation, whilst also being beneficial for the longevity of the piping system. More importantly, it dramatically reduces the need to pump and desalinate water from the island’s underground sources, reducing energy consumption by 400kwh - equivalent to the amount of energy required to keep a 40W light bulb on continually for 14 months!
The installation of the rainwater harvesting system is just the latest step in Frégate Island Private’s ongoing journey towards increasing sustainability and a harmonious, mutually beneficial co-existence with its natural environment. Last year, Frégate established the Indian Ocean’s largest endemic tree nursery and passed the notable milestone of planting the 100,000th tree since its reforestation programme began in 1998; and in 2008 it introduced the Indian Ocean’s first fully solar-powered fleet of guest buggies. The island is also one of the most important sanctuaries for rare endemic and indigenous animals, setting an inspiring example for others to follow with conservation projects that have seen the Magpie Robin - still the world’s seventh rarest bird - rejuvenated from a global population of just 22 in 1995 to over 180 today; and the critically endangered Seychelles terrapin nurtured back from just eight individuals to over 100 today.