A new filtration system, called H20 TO YOU, now filters dirt and chemicals out of water, turning it into water that is safe to drink.
This system was originally developed for the Flint water crisis, when it was found in 2014 that 100 000 residents of the city of Flint, Michigan, had been exposed to lead-contaminated water after city authorities changed their water source from Lake Huron to the river Flint.
But efficient filtration of water is not just crucial in a crisis: the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2017 that 844 million people had no access to clean drinking water.
This inspired Cardiff Metropolitan University student Alisha Daniels to develop a water bucket filtration system, which she called H20 TO YOU. This bucket filters harmful water and changes it into potable water by getting rid of any unwanted dirt, bacteria or particles.
The filtration system holds a layer of active charcoal, which according to Daniels, is installed to absorb and remove any bacteria. This is important, as it removes any contaminants in the water that could lead to waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and polio.
Daniels says that all the materials used in the making of the bucket are lightweight, because she wanted the product to be easily portable. She took into consideration that many women in developing countries use their heads to carry water and other goods.
“This product allows users to access clean water without walking miles to the nearest well or pump. I believe that with the cost-effective materials and the innovatively designed filtered lid, this product could make an impact on people in need and a difference in their lives,” she explains.
The outcome of the Flint water crisis was that many residents were exposed to lead poisoning and Legionnaires’ disease (a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria in drinking water).
The city’s government announced in early 2018 that water quality had finally been restored. It brought relief to the residents. Daniels realised H20 TO YOU could benefit people living in developing countries as well as people in developed countries who experienced a water crisis, for whatever reason.
But before H20 TO YOU became a reality, Daniels looked at existing market-ready filtration systems, to see whether there were aspects of them that could be improved. She quickly realised that there was no shortage of innovative products, because of worldwide water security issues.
Today, H20 TO YOU is still in the prototype stage. Daniels hopes that it will be chosen for development by a large corporation which will promote it in the global market. She also wants to work alongside various charities that deal directly with water issues for people in need.
“Charities are doing their best at this moment in time to install water pumps and wells that supply new drinking water to the affected areas, but costs of the water supplies, labour and the actual pumps mean that some underfunded areas aren’t getting the necessary help,” she explains.
“We could get this water filter bucket implemented into those areas and given to the people in need. This product could be a new solution that makes the existing dirty harmful water, drinkable and usable,” she adds.
Although H20 TO YOU is still in development, Daniels aim is to make the product cost effective in the final design.