Researchers from the University of Adelaide have launched a crowdfunding project to help develop low-cost water purifying kits for residents of the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Using gravity, sunlight and a few materials, the kits are capable of producing as much as 10 liters per day of safe drinking water. Researchers hope to raise $30,000 through the crowdfunding initiative, which would enable them to create 1,000 kits.
It's been estimated that 680 million people around the world do not have access to fresh drinking water, and approximately 1.5 million people, predominantly children, die from drinking contaminated water every year," said project leader Dr. Cris Birzer, Senior Lecturer in the university's School of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Humanitarian and Development Solutions Initiative at the university.
“We want to build on the very simple water treatment kits we developed for use in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, which allow people to make their own water purifiers from materials readily to hand.”
"These kits use sunlight to kill pathogens, making the water safe to drink. But in India, the water also contains heavy-metal contaminants and we need to do some onsite pathogen, heavy metal and other toxin assessments to be able to modify the kits for Rajasthan."
Researchers plan to visit Rajasthan to conduct water assessments and to search for custom solutions to the problem.
"Once we know exactly what heavy metals and other contaminants are present, we'll be able to modify the kit design with, for example, sand filters to remove other contaminants," said Dr. Birzer.
"Once we've designed the kits, they will be produced in Rajasthan and distributed to the community through local partners," said Dr. Birzer.
"The United Nations has explicitly stated that water is a human right. Here at the University of Adelaide we're trying to make sure those rights are fulfilled, and we want you to help us."
For more information on the campaign, click here.