Molovata, the village supplied with water “from the sun”
20 September 2022
The residents of the village of Molovata, Dubăsari district, located on the right bank of the Nistru river, have decided to solve their problems on their own.
Thanks to the civic engagement of locals and the support from Sweden and UNDP, Molovata has now a photovoltaic system that powers the water pumping station and ensures water supply for households in the village at affordable prices.
At the beginning of this year, together with the mayor, they drew up a list of priorities and identified water supply as the most stringent issue.
One would think that Molovata village should have enough drinking water, as it is situated right on the bank of the Nistru river. In fact, in recent years, because of the drought and bad weather, the community has been struggling to supply water uninterruptedly to households. The solution identified was installing a photovoltaic system with a capacity of 24 kW to pump water and transport it to the locality. The villagers considered that, this way, they can protect the environment and save money on energy.
They still needed, however, to secure US$30,000, needed to purchase the equipment, which the community of more than two thousand inhabitants could not afford. The “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project, implemented by UNDP, with the financial support of Sweden, helped to solve this challenge. The community participated in a call for applications organised as part of the project and was awarded a $16,000 grant, to which it contributed with more than $17,000.
The installed photovoltaic system uses net metering, which means the energy surplus is delivered to the grid and can be used later, for example in the cold season, when less solar energy is produced.
Igor Brânză, the mayor of Molovata, hopes that the investment will contribute to the reduction of the price of a cubic meter of water and will generate savings. He plans to invest the saved money in setting up a waste storage area and greening the village. “With this project, we have tried to achieve more: we upgraded the water pumping station using renewable energy, we will make the locality greener, thus contributing to the protection of the environment and we will involve women in managing environmental initiatives. Currently, local communities have very limited budgets, the pandemic making the available funds even more scarce. That is why finding a solution to these issues was postponed. Besides enabling us to use modern technology, the project has also contributed to developing civic engagement in the village.”
The villagers of Molovata don’t remember having seen before solar panels in their community. People say that they are being supplied with water “from the sun”, tells Zinaida Izman, retiree. “Given the recent price surges, any savings are welcome. Moreover, this will improve the image of our village. We hope it becomes more attractive for youth, as many are leaving abroad. Maybe if they knew that we are trying to keep up with the times and to make life in the village easier, they would think twice before leaving.”
Ion Chișca, the manager of the company which installed the solar panels, notes that because of the energy crisis, more and more communities are trying to cut costs by using renewable energy: “In this case, we installed the photovoltaic plant for the pumping station. Such a project is beneficial for any locality. I have been working in this field for five years. The interest for renewable energy has never been as high as this year. The rise in prices for gas and electricity prices have taken their toll on people's pockets. They want to become autonomous, which is a good thing.”
Moldovan authorities and development partners are promoting energy efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
Molovata is one of the 30 communities in the Republic of Moldova which received grants of up to $16,000 for projects that aim to enhance community resilience to climate change, reduce disaster risk and contribute to sustainable local development.
Overall, as part of the “Sustainable and resilient communities through women empowerment” project, 26 grant beneficiaries, including women entrepreneurs, women working in households and town halls from Nisporeni, Călărași, Basarabeasca and Leova districts, Găgăuzi aand Transnistrian regions and the Security Zone (Dubăsari district), received financial support and mentorship to install sources of renewable energy.