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A reliable water system for the water-stressed Atauro Island community Image
Case Study

A reliable water system for the water-stressed Atauro Island community

  • Site Name

    Atauro Island Community

  • Location

    Atauro, Timor-Leste


Atauro is an island located off the coast of Timor-Leste in the Indonesian Archipelago. In addition to its natural beauty, what makes this island particularly special is that, according to Conservation International, it is surrounded by “the most biodiverse waters anywhere in the world.”

Because Atauro lacks reliable water infrastructure, community members face severe water stress and widespread water-borne illness as a result of contaminated or unreliable water sources. In an attempt to keep community members safe, bottled water is shipped in from the mainland and was the primary source of drinking water. But as a result, an excess of plastic waste threatened the precious marine life inhabiting Atauro’s beaches and reefs.


Faced with fresh water scarcity, a remote location, harsh landscape, and poverty, the Island of Atauro presented several obstacles to finding a sustainable, resilient drinking water solution. The community needed a way to breakaway from reliance on plastic bottles, but also needed access to a water supply that was both clean and resilient despite the challenging conditions of the island.

Atauro Beachfront

SOURCE Project

Conservation International, in partnership with the Atauro community and SOURCE, installed 80 Hydropanels across two villages on the island to provide a reliable supply of clean, safe drinking water completely free of infrastructure and made from only sunlight and air. With reliable water access for the first time, and free of the dependence on single-use plastic bottles, residents can shift their focus to helping their communities thrive and protecting the wildlife that calls Atauro home

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