It’s been a while since I’ve written about water related products, so today I’m going to take a quick look at three simple products that provide clean water. These products are not appropriate for all situations, but they’re all intended for developing countries. Let’s take a look and see whether they’re actually a good fit to provide lasting solutions.
Hydraid BioSand Water Filter
As the name would imply this is a water filter that uses sand to filter out the nasty stuff. On the outside it looks like a garbage can with a pipe coming out of it, but inside is where all the good stuff is. You pour the water in the top and it goes through a biological layer and then filters down through the sand and out the pipe. Pretty simple.
- There are no moving parts which means that it shouldn’t need any maintenance besides cleaning out sediment every once in a while.
- Hydraid claims that it has a +10 year lifetime.
- Doesn’t need electricity because it works entirely on gravity.
- Testing in the field showed a 95% reduction in E. coli and 59% reduction in diarrheal diseases.
- It serves the needs of 8-10 people per day.
- Easy to set up and use.
What I DO NOT like about the Hydraid BioSand Water Filter:
- I feel like anything that is manufactured out of plastic isn’t truly sustainable or a lasting solution. If for some reason (maybe it got knocked over) something breaks it may not be able to be fixed with locally available material.
- I’d like to see a better reduction in diarrheal diseases, but this is better than nothing.
You can find more information at www.hydraid.org.
The WADI is an interesting idea that was developed to help with solar water disinfection. In case you’re not aware…water can be left out in the sun in a clear container and after a certain amount of time the contaminants are killed by the sun. But how do you know when the water is safe to drink? That’s where the WADI comes in. The WADI is a little device that you screw onto the top of a PET bottle after filling it with water and it lets you know when the water is safe to drink by “detecting and calculating the UV-A rays of the sun”. When the water is ready a display shows a smiley face so you know.
- It has a built in solar panel so it doesn’t require any electricity or battery.
- It does not require any part replacement or maintenance for five years (claimed and guaranteed by manufacturer).
- It uses visuals instead of written words for indicators and in its instructions which means that anyone can use it no matter what language you speak or if you can read or not.
- If one person in a community has a WADI then everyone else can just put their bottles next to the one that has a WADI on it and they’ll also know when their water is safe.
- It claims that it can reduce most biological contaminants by 99.99%. You can take a look at their data here: https://www.helioz.org/en-gb/home/aboutwadi/data.aspx
What I DO NOT like about the WADI:
- If someone uses a bottle that is not PET they risk polluting the water with chemicals that can leach out of the bottle.
- Because the WADI is small it seems like it would be easy to drop and break it, but who knows. But if that does happen I doubt it will be able to be fixed locally.
- Requires sunlight which isn’t a problem in many locations, but could be in some at different times of the year.
You can find more information about the WADI at www.helioz.org.
This product is more for coastal regions because it takes salt water and transforms it into fresh water, basically a small desalination plant. Again, it’s a very simple product that uses the heat of the sun to bring people clean water. The way it works is you pour salt water into the top portion of the Eliodomestico and as the sun heats up the water steam forms. The steam is forced into the lower portion where it condenses and the water collects in a removable basin.
- It doesn’t use any electricity and is made out of materials that are locally available in most places.
- Produces up to 5 liters of drinking water per day.
- The lower basin where the water collects is designed so that it can easily be transported on someone’s head, a normal practice in a lot of countries.
- Designer claims it’s 60% more efficient than other models on the market.
- The design is FREE! So if you have the skills to make it you’re free to take their design and run with it.
What I DO NOT like about Eliodemestico:
- It requires heat from the sun for it to work.
- If you can’t make it yourself it costs $50, which is still less than most comparable products, but is a lot for people in developing countries to come up with.
- Pottery can easily break if dropped (on the good side it is pottery so you could probably get the broken piece re-made locally).
- If the salt water you’re putting into it is polluted the water coming out will also be polluted.
You can find more information on the Eliodomestico at www.gabrielediamanti.com.
So there it is: three products that have the potential to bring fresh water to a lot of people. One thing I should note is that I could not find any pricing for the BioSand Water Filter or the WADI, and that could make a huge difference in how accessible these products are. Also, I am not endorsing any of these products, just making their existence known. I would love to hear your thoughts on either why these are good products, or why they are not. In my opinion, you’re never going to find the perfect solution to every situation, but these products are a great start and have the potential to help a large number of people. Until next time, thanks for reading and please share this information with anyone who may find it useful.