Scope Asia's Team visited the tiny Nusa Ceningan Island close to Bali; it's such a scenic and peaceful place still hidden from mass tourism. We were aware that groundwater there is salinated, but how salinated, we wanted to find out.
We spent a night in an eight bungalow's Blue Lagoon Secret Villas, and while brushing the teeth before going to bed, it became apparent; there was a minor salty taste in tap water.
Only a year ago the owner Ketut Warta with his business partners drilled a 40 meters deep borehole to get fresh water. The drilling is located a few kilometers from the beach up in the hill from where the water is piped to the resorts.
For the first month, the water was fresh and sweet, but then it started to turn into saline.
In the morning we tested the water. Tap water's TDS level was 5.500 mg/l.
Total dissolved solids (TDS) is a term to describe the inorganic salts and minerals in the water. Swimming pool's TDS was lower, 3.000, because there was heavy rain during the night.
Water with that high TDS is of course not drinkable, but tourists find it also too salty to brush teeth, shower or swim even in principle it's suitable for those purposes.
"Guests are complaining. Salty water is not good for business", says Ketut.
TDS level for excellent drinking water is less than 300 mg/l and for unacceptable drinking water more than 1.200 mg/l.
There are methods to desalinate water, for example reverse osmosis. In Finland and Switzerland designed and manufactured solar-powered desalination systems would do the job cost-efficiently and sustainable, but for Ketut, it would mean another investment only a year after the borehole investment.
Check out the video to see how our testing goes.