This is a re-post of an article from 2009. I thought it was important enough to post on the blog here.
“As populations in developing nations increase alongside global pollution and the spread of water-borne illnesses, the need for clean and efficient water filtration has never been more urgent. Recently, the International Water Association (IWA) awarded UNICEF and the Water and Sanitation Program with the 2008 Project Innovation Award Grand Prizefor providing Cambodia with ceramic water filters. These water purification devices are made and distributed by Cambodian nationals, and have resulted in a 50 percent drop in diarrheal illnesses in the region since their implementation in 2002.
Charity: Water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Sounds like a great idea (and they have a great www site, too).
By LAUREN SHOCKEY , NYTimes Magazine
| November 10, 2010, 9:23 am |
You’ve got to have a hard sell and catchy slogan if you’re a bottled water company trying to introduce your product in New York City, which is reputed to have some of the best tap water in the world. After all, this is a place where people have tried to actually bottle the tap water. Sometimes, though, a straightforward approach is best. And so the entrepreneur Benjamin Gott named his company Boxed Water Is Better.
Read the full essay: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/now-drinking-boxed-water-is-better/
November 15, 2010, 8:45 pm
In America, I turn on the faucet and out pours water. In much of the world, no such luck. Nearly a billion people don’t have drinkable water. Lack of water ─ and the associated lack of toilets and proper hygiene ─ kills 3.3 million people a year, most of them children under five.
Lack of access to clean water is one of the world’s biggest health problems. And it is one of the hardest to solve. Lots of different groups dig wells and lay pipes ─ but the biggest challenge comes after the hardware is in.
During the Spring 2010 semester students from the EPICS course worked with our project to address an area of need. The Colonias Water Project – EPICS group was comprised of three Texas A&M undergraduate students: Max Van Laer – Chemical Engineer; Linh Lam – Chemical Engineer; and Irene Soto – Computer Engineer.
Here is the executive summary of their project:
The Colonias Water Project’s mission is to supply clean, inexpensive potable water to those who have none. The group is made up of a wide array of people ranging from engineers to artists or to high school $olunteers. They all come together to contribute to this cause by producing ceramic water filters. The water filters are created by a mechanical press that cranks a dye, molding the clay to the ideal thickness.
There were many other areas in the Colonias Water Project that we could address, but we were asked to focus on the mechanical press. The volunteers were mostly concerned with the lack of safety on the current water filter press. Even though the press is used locally, it serves as a model for other presses internationally, such as in Nicaragua and Honduras. Therefore our main audience would be a non-technical person. After taking several measurements, we began to tackle down the safety issue of the press.
We decided that the main priority was to remove the steel beam. Since the beam is not pinned to the press, the beam could slip if not aligned properly under the enormous amount of pressure. In addition, the beam has started to bend under the pressure, resulting in an uneven force distribution over the clay pots. The uneven force distribution builds cracks in certain parts of the mold, which directly affects the quality of the clay water filters. After several weeks of modifications, we finally resolved the problem and re-created two cylinders that could withstand all the force and not slip under pressure. The main feature of the new cylinders is the threading. Since the cylinders twist into each other, they will not slip and hurt somebody.
We are pleased to announce that we have added a new partner to our project: Mud Creek Pottery in Calvert, TX, under the direction of owner M. L. “Sonny” Moss.
Sonny is firing a batch of filters for us this week. (Oscar Muñoz will take one of the filters with him on a trip to Bolivia later in the week. We will keep you posted on his trip.) Sonny is a key member of the arts community in Calvert and the surrounding area. We are talking about collaborating with Mud Creek Pottery for a water filter public pedagogy demonstration and workshop sometime in Fall 2010.
Welcome Sonny and Mud Creek Pottery!
Our very own project consultant Richard Wukich (Slippery Rock University) was interviewed by CNN during his most recent trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A brief story aired on CNN a few days ago. Although the story incorrectly links him with Potters for Peace his trip was part of a partnership with FilterPure in the Dominican Republic and an initiative to establish a ceramic water filter production facility in Haiti. You can watch the video here:
Here is the description that accompanies the video:
Dr Richard Wukich of Slippery Rock University creates Ceramic Water Filters to save lives. This is a CNN Anderson Cooper story about DR Wukich’s trip to Haiti, Potters For Peace and how he teaches residents of countries with poor drinking water how to make their own water filters…….. The January 12 earthquake in Haiti damaged the already weak infrastructure on the island nation. As a result, thousands of Haitian families were left homeless and forced into tent encampments, without reliable access to food, clean water or sanitation.
In response to the disaster, Dr. Richard Wukich is in Haiti with a simple mission: to bring clean water to Haitians in need. Working with Potters For Peace, an international nonprofit that makes clay water filters, Wukich is distributing these useful clay pots to Haitian families. The pots are inexpensive to make and each pot can purify 2.5 liters of water each hour.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper reports.