With one in ten people currently without access to clean water, this global problem is mounting daily. Even with aid organizations working to meet the demands for drinkable water, there are still so many places going without it. That is where four interesting new inventions come into play. Each makes the task of purifying water much easier and more readily available to people from the far-flung villages of rural Africa to the crowded slums of India.
1. The Life Sack: These “sacks” were originally created by Korean designers Jung Uk Park, Myeong Hoon Lee, and Dae You Lee to carry food donated from global aid programs. But, with the addition of a solar powered water purifier, they can now transform from a bag to carry food into a bag that makes local water sources safe to drink. It even has straps so it can be worn like a backpack to travel from the water location to the community. The sack works by using UVA radiation and its own thermal treatment process to kill micro-organisms and bacteria living in the water.
2. The Cycloclean: In many impoverished parts of the globe, bicycling is the most convenient way to get around. Riding a bike to a water source can be a much faster way to travel back and forth. But, if the water isn’t clean, there is little point in the journey to begin with. That’s where the Cycloclean comes in. Invented by Nippon Basic, a company based in Kawasaki, in 2005, the bike does all the work. Its own chain runs a motor that pumps water into a set of filters that produce purified water with a maximum capacity of 5 litres a minute. The water can come from as far down as 5 meters in the ground. Currently, the price is still too high, but Nippon Basic has combined its efforts with a local bicycle maker and will hopefully be able to reduce costs.
3. The Watercone: Sometimes the main problem leading to water poverty is not contaminated fresh water, but a lack of it altogether while having an abundance of salty or brackish water nearby. Water like this cannot be consumed because of its dehydrating qualities. This occurred to Stephan Augustin while on vacation in the Canary Islands. While playing with a saucer, cup, and salt water he brought about the initial plan for the Water Cone. A person simply places the cone on the black saucer filled with 3-5 litres of water and sets it in the sun for a day. The sun heats the saucer and water causing the evaporated water to condense on the side and trickle back down, creating a desalination process and about 1.5 litres of portable water a day.
4. The PlayPump: Hand pumping water is never the most enjoyable activity. But what if we could combine the action of pumping water with children having fun? The PlayPump does exactly that. The people at Roundabout Water Solutions install the merry-go-round style pump at a preexisting borehole. The community children play by pushing the pump around and around. As they play, water is drawn up and stored in a tank nearby. The children get to have fun and exercise and the area benefits from the supply of water. One of the best parts? The tanks have enough space for public health messages and company advertising to help lower the cost of the installation.