How to perform drinking water treatment in off-grid communities

Find out why solar-powered, automated ultrafiltration water treatment systems are the best option for producing safe drinking water from raw water sources in off-grid communities.

More than a billion people are affected by water-related diseases every year. In order to ensure a reliable and safe water supply, it’s important to consider the complete water supply scheme from source to tap. 

In this module, we’re going to focus on the production of drinking water from surface water in off-grid communities. We’ll also take a look at several key aspects in achieving this including:

The characteristics of remote communities.

The benefits of automated water treatment systems.

How the Grundfos AQpure is the ideal solution for treating unsafe surface water.

Let’s get started.

In remote communities, there is usually no access to grid electricity, and often there’s no access to clean water either. There is, however, often plenty of surface water such as pond, lake or rain water. As a source, this water is unsafe, but thanks to appropriate water treatment systems, there is a way to produce safe drinking water for off-grid communities.

Using solar-powered feed pumps and ultrafiltration water treatment systems, surface water can be treated to the point that it’s safe to consume. However, it’s also important to take special characteristics of remote communities into account when it comes to designing the right water treatment system.

These characteristics include high cost sensitivity, a lack of technical capabilities, fluctuations in water supply and demand and of course the remote location. In order to adhere to these characteristics, it’s important that the water treatment systems are automated, robust and do not demand much attention from locals. We will come back to this but, for now, let’s take a closer look at ultrafiltration.

Simply put, ultrafiltration is a physical barrier that provides a constant output quality regardless of the inlet. Ultrafiltration modules consist of long, thin membranes with pores of 0.03 micron. Thanks to these pores, the membranes can easily separate fine particles such as bacteria and vira from the water. This makes the water perfectly safe for drinking and domestic consumption.

Here’s how it works in practice: 

Water enters the bottom of the module along the outside of the ultrafiltration membranes. Due to the pressure, water passes through the tiny pores in the membranes and clean filtered water exits through the top of the module.

Occasionally, the ultrafiltration module will need to be cleaned. In such a case, the process is reversed as a backwash. That way, the pressure coming from the top of the module will force all tiny particles and bacteria off of the membranes and flush them out of the system.

In the final part of this module, we’re going to introduce you to the Grundfos AQpure water treatment system and the many benefits that it can bring to local communities in remote areas.

Briefly put, AQpure is a solar-powered water treatment system designed for robust and reliable treatment of drinking water. It’s built on a modular design so it is easy to configure – allowing for simple customisation according to the specific treatment requirements of the source water and the installation site. 

Furthermore, it’s delivered as a pre-fabricated solution – simplifying the on-site installation. This means that you can have your water treatment system up and running within a day. 

And that’s not all. Thanks to the self-adaptive control scheme of AQpure, it can be self-driven – resulting in much longer service intervals. It also offers remote monitoring, allowing you to manage the plant from a distance, react quickly to potential faults as well as remotely update the firmware. 

Configuring AQpure is simple. Before you begin, you need to analyse and identify the category of your raw water source. Once you have done this, you can apply the information to the AQpure configuration tool. This is a two-step process.

First, you have to select the water quality based on the results of your water analysis.

Next, you need to select the appropriate configuration. This is quite simple as you just have to decide what’s most important for you: optimising plant operation or keeping the initial cost down. 

Based on your input, you’ll then be presented with the correct product variant along with an overview of the built-in modules. From here, it only takes a few minutes to look up the price and complete the quotation. 

So, that covers the main aspects of producing safe drinking water from surface water, the benefits of applying the ultrafiltration treatment method as well as the advantages brought by Grundfos AQpure. 


Now that you’re familiar with AQpure, why not head to and try out our AQpure configuration tool for yourself.

Course overview

Modules: 2
Completion time
Completion time: 16 minutes
Difficulty level
Difficulty level: Intermediate