Almost a billion people lack access to clean drinking water, which is the result of low water supplies and poor sanitation systems around the world. This shocking figure underscores the importance of affordable designs that filter water to make it safe enough to drink, as well as systems that improve sanitation for communities. We've rounded up six innovative design solutions that provide clean drinking water - granted that one in eight people in the world don't have access to water, it's designs like these that help save lives.
Water has been prevailing theme over the past few years, especially in the wake of multiple natural disasters that involved polluting our oceans, flooding and access to clean water. Not only is it the stuff that makes the world go round, but every person needs access to clean drinking water and a number of designers around the world have been working to produce life-saving devices and designs that can filter or provide clean water for the world. It’s important to note that in addition to cleaning polluted water, we also need to crack down on business and factories polluting our rivers, lakes and oceans.
Originally just a plastic cigar-sized portable filter, LifeStraw purifiers are now available in sizes perfect for personal, family, group, and community use. LifeStraw uses hollow fibre microfiltration technology to purify water by removing potential pathogens like typhoid, cholera, dysentery as well as the parasites. The personal straw size works as soon as you suck up water from a source, rendering up to 1,000 liters of water fit to drink without electricity or additional attachments, while the family and community filters purify larger quantities of water through a larger pitcher.
Play Pump Merry Go-Round Water Pump
Since kids always seem to be bustling with extra energy, why not put that energy to good use. The Play Pump Merry Go-Round was designed as a fun water pump for rural villages and schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kids can have fun while providing water for use in cooking, sanitation, drinking, and even growing food. So far over 1,000 pumps have been installed, and PlayPumps International hopes to increase that number to 4,000 by the end of 2010.
LifeSaver Water Filter
The LifeSaver is a water filtration device that uses various filters to screen out even the smallest viruses as well as bacteria, contaminants, and pathogens. Available in several different sizes to suit personal, family, travel, and emergency disaster use, these filters can clean 750ml of water in less than a minute, transforming polluted water into life-saving hydration. Although they were quite expensive when first developed, they have dropped in price to be much more affordable, and have been put to great use in communities all over the world.
Ceramic Water Filters
This simple yet ingenious design for providing Cambodia with ceramic water filters won the 2008 Project Innovation Award Grand Prize. The design consists of a porous ceramic and fired clay pot that sits inside a barrel, collecting water and then relying on gravity filtration to remove microbes and other contaminants. Since 2002, when these filters were first distributed, the regions with the filters are reporting a 50% drop in diarrheal illnesses.
This sack really pulls its weight as a multi-purpose bag of awesomeness. First it’s used to transport grain to communities in need, and then once the grain has been distributed, it can be used to filter and store water. It can also be used as a backpack to transport that water as needed. Life Sack uses SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection Process) technology to remove contaminants from water using UV-A radiation.
Jonathan Liow, a graduate student at Monash University, developed the solar ball to utilize the sun’s power to purify drinking water, It’s a sphere-shaped shaped device that uses evaporation to separate contaminants from drinking water when placed in the sun. The condensation that ensues equals a little over three quarts of clean drinking water every day. Liow created this device after a trip to Cambodia, where he was shocked to see how many people lacked access to clean drinking water. Since the SolarBall is both small and inexpensive, it’s ideal for daily transport, for both individual or family use.