Thursday, 12 April 2007


'Tasneem Primary School: Desalination Device with Solar-Panel Canopy' a poject by Marjetica Potrc for the Sharjah Biennal.

A small desalination device powered by solar energy is installed in a public school in Al Dhaid. It provides fresh drinking water for the students.

Although the main desalination plant in Sharjah City is intended to supply drinking water to all residents, in some parts of the city only salty water comes out of the drinking taps. The desalination plant runs on fossil fuels, reflecting the area's dependence on oil. In Sharjah, solar energy is only rarely used to create electricity.

Obsession with water increases along with the consumption of it. Salty drinking water is dangerous for human health, and consuming it on a regular basis can be lethal. How then does one live in an environment where salty tap water is an everyday reality? Today, the Emirate of
Sharjah has become a test site for answering this question. Although the main desalination plant in Sharjah City – part of the Sharjah Water and Electricity Authority – is intended to fresh deliver drinking water to all residents, not all of the supplied water is of the same quality. In some parts of the city, salty water still comes out of the drinking taps.

Traditionally – and long before there were any desalination plants – Sharjah obtained its water from underground aquifers and rainwater harvesting. Parts of the emirate still practice these traditional methods. However, a simple equation tells us that the more people there are who use the water, the less fresh water there is in the wells. Making matters worse, the water in the underground aquifers is becoming increasingly saline from overuse. People who can afford it install a reverse-osmosis (R.O.) desalination device in their homes to maintain the quality of their drinking water.

Especially schools, which are often situated a bit outside the city centre, have a problem with getting good quality drinking water from the tab. For the Sharjah Biennial 8, Marjetica Potrc will install a reverse-osmosis (R.O.) desalination device in a public school in Sharjah. This device will be connected to a solar panel and powered by solar energy. It will thus become a self-sustainable device, independent from the big desalination plants that run on fossil fuels
– while these last.

Trained as an architect, Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrc focuses in her mostly community-based projects on issues of self-sustainability, grown architecture and new building methods beyond the drawing-board. To exhibit other people’s designs is part of her artistic practice.

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