Monday, August 24, 2009

Very Interesting Solution To World's Water Problem.

Governments spend billions of dollars sending safe drinking water and other supplies to struggling nations.  Not only is this expensive and lacking in scope, but when people congregate to get such essential things, more problems occur.

Engineer Michael Pritchard has an interesting solution to this problem.  He has created a small portable water bottle that that cleans even the most awful disease infected water.

Because the bottles are small and portable, people can use them wherever they live and no matter how awful the local water is.  This allows people to spend more time and energy doing things other than finding safe water, if they can find it at all.

The price?  This system would provide all the filtration a family of four would need for $0.005 a day.  This is much less then governments spend bringing people clean water.   Even the US military has adopted using this product.

So what do you think?  Is this a revolutionary idea?  Should charitable organizations start handing out these opposed to bottles of water? If nothing else I hope you enjoy the talk.


  1. $150 a bottle. $100 for a replacement filter. These things aren't cheep. If we went into a disaster area and started handing these out people would collect as many of them as possible and then sell them for a significant profit (hey when you get it for free, any profit is significant). There was a similar problem after the 2004 tsunami where aid agencies went into an area and handed out food, tents, clothes etc. and the people turned around and sold it for cheep on the local black market and then those people went on to sell it to other people. The same thing happened with aid agencies offering to rebuild people's houses. They got a free house and then they sold it (and some even went and got another free house).

    So handing out something that small, and that portable and that expensive is just asking for corruption. It is a very good idea and has great humanitarian potential, but unfortunately people are not always honest, nor do they always do what is right.

  2. Ryan, you raise a really good point with corruption and the temptation to sell expensive things on the black market. I think that is an excellent critique.

    But corruption aside, I wonder what costs more. Giving a $150 dollar bottle that gives clean water all year for free or trying to provide clean water for an entire year? What would save humanitarian agency money corruption aside?

    Now, you can't just push corruption and the black market aside so your point is well taken.

  3. Also, agreeing with you, it is unfortunate how what will usually happen is what is in their immediate economic best interest, not what is good for their long term health interest. People seem to put their economic welfare above everything else.

  4. Give a man a drink and he'll thirst again. Give him a well and he'll sell the water rights to Las Vegas. =:)


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