Water innovations

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Detailed Analysis - Problems with Dirty Water Globally

Lack of sanitation, healthcare-related problems, problems on children's education, and the negative impact on the economic, safety and hygiene of women are some problems that people are facing with dirty water at the global level.

Problems that people are facing globally with dirty water

1) Lack of sanitation

  • Clean water is critical to having clean toilets which help in proper waste disposal that prevent the spread of disease and enhances the health, privacy, and safety of the individual.
  • One in three people don’t have access to a good toilet facility — so people spend hours a day searching for a toilet facility.
  • Also, 2.3 billion people are currently living without access to improved sanitation and 12% of the global population is currently defecating in the open space.
  • Besides, 90% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated directly into water bodies.
  • About 2 million tonnes of sewage and other effluents are drain into the water bodies daily.

2) Health problems

  • Water is often collected from sources of dubious quality, then carried over a distance, and stored in the home before being consumed. This makes it vulnerable to contamination between its source and its point of use which can then lead to hygiene-related disease like diarrhea.
  • When there is no easy access to clean water, women and children have no alternative but to carry heavy vessels long distances in search of the clean water.
  • More than 5 million people die each year from water-related diseases such as severe diarrhea, hepatitis A and dysentery.
  • Around 80 percent of all deaths from illness in the developing world are as a result of lack of access to safe drinking water.
  • About 160 million children suffer from stunting and chronic malnutrition linked to water and sanitation.
  • An estimated 1 million people killed by water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease each year.
  • An estimated 842,000 people die each year due to diarrhea disease with 361,000 of them being children under the age of five years old.

3) Economic problems

  • When there is no easy access to clean water, people are forced to walk long distances to sources like rivers and ponds to find water.
  • Dirty water has caused people to spend an exorbitant amount of money in securing clean/safe water.
  • About 2.1 billion people are currently living without safe/clean drinking water in their homes.
  • An estimated 844 million people lack access to safe/clean water globally.
  • Approximately $260 billion is lost annually due to lack of basic clean water and sanitation globally.

4) Problems on children's education

  • Children, especially in developing countries, are often responsible for collecting water for their families. This, therefore, forces them to take time away from school, significantly reducing their school attendance and negatively affects their education.
  • About 570 million children lack basic clean drinking water at schools.

5) Negative impact on safety and hygiene of women

  • When women don't have access to safe/clean water and sanitation at home and school, they face significant challenges that are compounded by the fact that their safety and health are at risk when they have no choice but to defecate out in the open.
  • Menstruation poses another problem when there is no clean water available and can result in not only girls not attending school but living in discomfort and shame.
  • An additional 266 million hours are lost each day because they have no toilet at home.

Research Strategy:

To locate the main problems that people are facing with dirty water globally, we began by combing through the World Health Organization, Water.org, World Vision, UNICEF, WashFunders, and UNESCO. We hope to locate study conducted in developing countries that do not have access to safe drinking water. This strategy was successful as we were able to locate some main problems that people are facing with dirty water globally. We went further to provide a detailed report regarding why these were a problem and how prevalent the problem was at the global level.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Solving Problems Creatively in the Clean Water Space

The ways to address and solve water problems creatively include water harvesting, microplastics removal, desalination, solar-powered water filtration, and the Drinkable Book. Complete details about each of the solutions are listed below.

Water Harvesting

  • Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are close to producing a microwave-sized water harvester that pulls water directly from the air.
  • They do this with a water-absorbing metal-organic framework (MOF) that takes up water from the air easily and quickly and discharges it rapidly so that the water can be collected. Although previous MOF's have been created in the past, the current ones are extremely porous and are better than previous versions.
  • This harvester can pull more than five cups of water (1.3 liters) from low-humidity air per day for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of MOF. This amount is more than the minimum amount to stay alive. It will go a long way to making water scarcity a thing of the past by CREATING water.

Microplastics Removal

  • An 18-year old from Ireland has implemented a method of extracting plastic particles that are less than 5 millimeters in diameter.
  • The method involves the use of non-toxic iron oxide to clean up oil spills. Testing the method on water containing microplastics allowed the plastic particles to be migrated into the oil phase, after which the fluid (along with the plastics) could be removed using strong magnets. This method is the first of its kind to use technology normally reserved to clean up oil spills and repurposing it in the clean water space.
  • This extraction removed 85% to 92% of microplastics in water samples, making for purer water.

Desalination

  • Desalination is the process of turning saltwater into freshwater. While desalination has been around in many forms in the past, a newer, possibly less expensive and more energy-efficient way has been created to accomplish this.
  • Solar collectors are used to heat water to a boiling point, after which it is condensed separately from the particles of salt and dirt which render it unfit for drinking. It is powered by a small photovoltaic system which powers the processors used by the machine. This method is newer, less expensive and more energy efficient than earlier models.
  • This method has made it less expensive to filter saltwater. Also, it can be applied not just in areas with a lot of saltwater; it also works in areas where the water is otherwise contaminated, making cleaner water available.

Solar-Powered Water Filtration

  • The SunSpring Hybrid is a portable solar and wind-powered system. It provides 20,000 liters of clean water a day for 10 years or more.
  • The system uses solar and wind power to filter contaminated water (usually from sewage), and render it drinkable. It is the only hybrid water plant that is validated by GE. It makes use of IWT-275 membranes that produce superior water quality and are virtually unaffected by variable raw water quality.
  • This system is primarily for developing communities and can last for more than 10 years. It is a much more viable solution for these communities because it can make clean water infinitely more affordable for them.

The Drinkable Book

  • The Drinkable Book is a more retail-oriented filtration solution that educates its users while providing clean, drinkable water for them.
  • The Drinkable Book is an actual book with basic water and sanitation advice on each page. This information is printed on coffee filter paper which can reduce 99.9% of the bacteria in water, almost completely purifying it. While the Drinkable Book is not the first reliable water filter, it is the first of its kind to provide purification solutions and hygiene education to its user at the same time.
  • This system can provide a single person with four years' worth of drinkable water. It makes contaminated water drinkable. It is a purification solution.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "2.3 billion people living without access to improved sanitation and 12% of the global population defecates in the open"
  • "Today, 1 in 3 people don’t have access to a toilet so they spend hours a day searching for a place to go. And more people have a mobile phone than a toilet."
Quotes
  • "An estimated 842,000 people die each year due to diarrheal disease that could have been prevented. 361,000 are children under the age of five years old"
Quotes
  • "Lack of sanitation is one of the most significant forms of water pollution. 90% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated directly into water bodies Every day 2 million tonnes of sewage and other effluents drain into the world’s water"
Quotes
  • "Lack of access to safe water also affects the physical well-being of women and children who have no choice but to carry heavy vessels long distances. - 160 million children suffer from stunting and chronic malnutrition linked to water and sanitation - 1 million people killed by water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease each year"
Quotes
  • "Around 80 percent of all deaths from illness in the developing world are caused by lack of access to safe water. More than 5 million people die each year from water-related diseases such as severe diarrhea, hepatitis A and dysentery."
Quotes
  • "Worldwide, 2.1 billion people still live without safe drinking water in their homes and more than 892 million people still have no choice but to defecate outside."
  • "Every day, more than 800 children under age 5 die from diarrhea attributed to poor water and sanitation."
Quotes
  • "There are 844 million people in the world who lack access to safe water, and of them, women are generally tasked with water collection. They spend hours, multiple times per day, waiting in long lines at community water kiosks or walking to distant sources like rivers and ponds to find it. This is time spent, and income not earned. An estimated $260 billion is lost globally each year due to lack of basic water and sanitation."
Quotes
  • "When they don’t have access to water at home, children are often responsible for collecting it for their families. Sharing the burden with their mothers, children around the world spend 200 million hours each day collecting water. This takes time away from school. Likewise, poor sanitation keeps kids, especially girls, from being able to go to school."
  • "570 million children lack basic drinking water at their schools"
  • "Girls who lack access to safe water and sanitation at home or at school face significant challenges. Compounded by the fact that their safety and health are at risk when they have no choice but to defecate in the open, menstruation poses another reason why girls in impoverished, water-insecure communities do not go to school. "
  • "Every 2 minutes, a child dies from a water related disease"
Quotes
  • "For women, the water crisis is personal. They are responsible for finding a resource their families need to survive - for drinking, cooking, sanitation and hygiene. They may stand in line and wait for water, they may walk long distances to collect water, or they may pay exorbitant amounts of money to secure water. In their efforts to get water for their families, they often face an impossible choice - certain death without water or possible death due to illness from dirty water. "
  • "Today, women around the world will spend a collective 200 million hours collecting water. In addition to time spent collecting water, millions may also spend significant amounts of time finding a place to go. This makes up an additional 266 million hours of time each day lost because they have no toilet at home"
Quotes
  • "5.3 billion people used safely managed drinking-water services – that is, they used improved water sources located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. The remaining 2.2 billion people without safely managed services"
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Innovation like desalination technology, collecting dew, and wastewater recycling will be key to helping the world rise to the challenge of solving the water shortage."
Quotes
  • "A teen from Ireland may have found the solution to rid world's oceans from the microplastics that are near impossible to remove."
Quotes
  • "Desalination is often dismissed as being expensive and polluting. But advances in tech are putting it back on the agenda"
Quotes
  • "In many places of the world, the problem isn't that there is not enough water but that the water is contaminated. In developing countries, 80 percent of sewage is discharged untreated into waterways. That's why Innovative Water Technologies developed water filtration systems like the SunSpring Hybrid a self-contained portable solar and wind-powered system that provides 20,000 liters of clean water a day for 10 years or more."