One year of water making. Katadyn PowerSurvivor.

A year ago today, our Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E water maker was finally working. Since then it has produced almost all the water we use. I write “almost” as we are not averse to collecting rain water – mainly for washing and cleaning.

A year ago today, our Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E water maker was finally working. Since then it has produced almost all the water we use. I write “almost” as we are not averse to collecting rain water – mainly for washing and cleaning.

We spent a week away from the boat when we cycled in the Andes but other than that we have been living on board all year. In those 358 days we have produced nearly 4000 liters of water and have given away about 350 liters, so on average we use about ten liters a day. By pre-washing ourselves, our clothes and our dishes in salt water, we manage to live comfortably with that.

The system uses about 60 watts of electrical power and we run it only from wind and solar power. Unlike many of our neighbours, we never have to run our diesel motor or a petrol generator to produce electricity. The water maker is a good “energy puffer”; on days with too much power we can produce more water and on overcast, windless days, less.

The water quality has been good all year. We have regularly given the Seenomaden water and, after over twenty years at sea, they still say it is the best water they have tasted. We have a measuring device which always claimed our water had less than 300 parts per million (ppm) of salt in it. SY Mikado’s meter measured far less so we are not sure of the real value but our guess is an average of about 180 ppm.

Until now (touch wood) the system has run with no problems. We wash out and dry the two pre-filters every few days and occasionally lubricate the piston shafts as per the manual. We have seen black oily leaks from the piston shaft but they are irregular. We asked technical support for suggestions what it could be but received a standard “take it to a dealer” answer. Katadyn still do not appreciate how big the oceans are and how limited their dealer network is in the middle of the Pacific.

We bought a water maker to increase our freedom and that is exactly what it has done. If we want to stay a month on a dry coral reef, that is what we do. If it takes 54 days to cross an ocean, we still arrive with a full water tank. When the neighbours need water, no problem! We always have pure clean water and therefore a meal and a cup of coffee.

Technical bit. The PowerSurvivor has produced an average of 5.40 liters per hour during the last year. The flow rate is dependent on the battery voltage varying between 5.2 (under 12.8V) and 5.7 (above 14V). We have a pre-pump installed below the water line which can pump about 170 liters an hour through the pre-filters.

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