This paper studies a distinct perspective of a nano-grid to provide water needs at a survivable level for people with limited access to both electricity and drinkable water. It is shown that by considering the essential requirements of colonias, a portable treatment facility supported by a few photovoltaic (PV) panels and water storage tanks can provide the bare minimum living standards. This set up is defined as the survivable nanogrid. Given the primitive conditions, the proposed sizing and operation of the nanogrid leverages the flexibility of water filtration energy needs to compensate the fluctuating solar PV generation. The case study based on a water samples and historical weather data for targeted colonias in Texas suggests the unique benefits of joint optimization of both energy and water needs. It is shown that power generated by as little as 20 PV panels in each colonia can provide drinkable water for as many as 200 people in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. This finding is potentially generalizable towards for many other under-developed remote communities.
Keywords nanogrid, water treatment, water-energy-nexus, colonias.