Gallery: 6 Water-purifying Devices for Clean Drinking Water in the Deve...


With 3.575 million people dying each year from water-related disease, our current water crisis is one of epic proportions. At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by those suffering from illness brought on by limited access to safe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation. Granted these harrowing realities plaguing our society, it’s imperative that designers, inventors, engineers and visionaries do what they can to find a solution. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of innovation on tap – read on for six water purifying designs for the developing world!

1. Lifestraw

The Lifestraw is a small cigar-shaped tube packed with some truly innovative engineering. This clever design purifies water from potential pathogens like typhoid, cholera, dysentery and diarrhea – all before they reach your lips. The Lifestraw is an inexpensive way to deliver potable water to those in need, and it is considered an icon of humanitarian product design – it was included in Cooper Hewitt’s Design for the Other 90% exhibition, which featured products, architecture, and technology that’s have a positive impact on under-privileged demographics around the world.

2. Ceramic Water Filters

In 2008 UNICEF and the Water and Sanitation Program were given the Project Innovation Award Grand Prize by the International Water Association for providing Cambodia with ceramic water filters. These water purification devices, made and distributed by Cambodian nationals, resulted in a 50 percent drop in diarrheal illnesses since they were first employed back in 2002. Developed in a joint effort between WSP and UNICEF, the filters are made from fired clay, and the tiny pores of the ceramic material are small enough to remove virtually all bacteria and protozoa. The design utilizes gravity to facilitate the filtration process, resulting in a flow rate of 1-3 liters per hour.

+ Field Report on Ceramic Filters in Cambodia [PDF]

3. Water Purifying Bicycle

Japan’s Nippon Basic Company recently introduced what they are calling, the “Cycloclean,” a water-purifying bike initially designed for use in remote villages and disaster zones. The Cycloclean harness kinetic energy to purify water, and users can ride the bike to any nearby body of water for immediate access to a source of potable drinking water.

4. Life Sack

Jung Uk Park, Myeong Hoon Lee, and Dae Youl Lee are the industrial designers behind the ingenious water purification device know as the Life Sack. Not only does this clever design purify water — it also doubles as a container for shipping grains and other food staples. Once the package of food is received, it can then be used as a solar water purification kit. To filter contaminated water the Life sack uses SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection Process) technology: UV-A-radiation and the bag’s thermal treatment process work together to kill deadly microorganisms and bacteria in water. The sack can also be worn as a backpack for quick and easy movement from the source to the community.

5. “Pure” Water Bottle Filters Water With UV Rays

While traveling in Zambia, Timothy Whitehead was exposed to a water purification process that left him both concerned and perplexed. This process required 30 minutes, and used chlorine and iodine tablets to produce water that although safe to drink was terrible in taste. Inspired to develop an alternative solution, he came up with the Pure Water Bottle – a device that is capable of filtering soiled water in two minutes by using a combination of 4 micron-sized water filters and a wind-up ultraviolet light system. This combinations removes up to 99.9% of impurities from any water source, and it could be a valuable asset for people in developing nations.

6. Hamster Ball-Shaped Solarball

Designed by Jonathan Liow, a graduate student at Monash University, the Solar Ball is a spherical shaped device that utilizes the power of the sun to purify water. Inspired by a trip to Cambodia, Liow sought to aid underdeveloped populations that lack access to clean drinking water. When placed in the sun, the Solarball uses evaporation to separate dirt and contaminants. The resulting condensations yields just over three quarts of potable water per day. The ball is inexpensive and relatively small in size, making it easy to transport


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  1. edman August 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Hi, my name is Ed Hoggan. I design and build koi ponds and water features in Tucson, Arizona. I recently developed a system for processing dirty water and I have a patent pending on the machine. I’m interested in sharing the idea to hopefully develop it and introduce it to the market. I am also looking to apply this new technology to help in providing clean water to those in neeed. Thank you

    Ed Hoggan
    520 304 6433

  2. Susan Mccaghren Lawrence May 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    PLEASEPLEASE- where may americans get these- we have mrsa in water- and now warnings to not drink it- imagine using hot heat NOW to clean our tap water to drink and stop the botttle water madness- anyone can put things in Sun- as with keystone pipeline- nasty oil fracking- our water supplu is GONE to the 4th world quality- help where can a poor average USA person buy anything- please help USA_ we are dying from bad food and water-

  3. ابوالحسن عبد... April 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    very good collection ,excellent topic in this important field ..thank you

  4. venom01145 April 3, 2014 at 11:59 am

    googd stories:)

  5. Joyce Leen April 1, 2014 at 9:23 am


  6. mark.smedinghoff February 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm


  7. digitaldwh December 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Of interest for those in the Kingdom

  8. Zillur Rahman April 14, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Dear Sir,
    In Bangladesh all over the rural areas people use tube well for their safe drinking water. They drink direct tube well water without boil. They never think their safety from e-coli and other bacteria. Only think arsenic problem. Arsenic is big problem in Bangladesh. More than 35 million people are highly affected in arsenic. In Bangladesh arsenic maximum contaminants label 50ppb and who’s maximum contaminants label 10ppb.
    People never think (USEPA drinking water contaminants) other microorganisms, toxic chemical, pesticides, and radionuclides, organic and inorganic chemical contaminants for their health safety. All of these contaminants are found in ground water. For this reason people affected many disease (liver, kidney, heart and brain) day by day.
    We need your advice for our poor people how can afford their safe drinking water for their good health. Actually we interested to know which purifying method (ultra filtration, ultraviolet light, reverse osmosis system, nano membrane system, ozone method and chemical process method etc.) is appropriate for safe drinking water.
    We are waiting for your gratefully answer.
    Thanking you
    Zillur Rahman

  9. OneBigBoost April 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    We have experience with the small, ceramic filters. Ours provided by Micama in Haiti. Cost is under $12 US, spigot for a bucket included. The size of a lg baking potato, light-weight, provides water fast. Scrubbable, reusable for years, quick to install this project is a life-saver. We (OneBigBoost) provided 350 filters to the mountains in south-west Haiti during a new cholera outbreak. Where dependability, cost, weight and transportation are issues, this fits the ticket! highly recommended!!

  10. Mountainsinmymind September 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Have you heard of the biosand filter? Check out

  11. thedavefoster September 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Can you discuss the cost per unit of each of these? They’re great ideas at the initial concept, but how practical are they? How much do they cost, how available are they to the people who will be using them, are they really being adopted, and how are they fixed or replaced when broken?

    Glad you’re covering stuff like this. It would be great to take this blog post to the next level and assess the successes of each product.

  12. iglal August 31, 2011 at 8:41 am


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