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pamc in dev_in_a_box

Water as a Commodity


Millions of people around the world are without safe drinking water and increasing population demands on existing safe drinking water supplies are increasing tension throughout the world to the point where prominent UN spokespeople are warning about the risks of future wars over access to potable water.

There is a wide range of technology for treating sea and contaminated water to make it safe for human consumption but those available on the market are either too expensive, require too much power or expensive parts while many of the available technologies simply can not handle water available in the region.

Water is rather expensive to transport due to its weight and the volume used. Transportation by truck is expensive in fuel, capital and man costs while transportation by pipeline is expensive in capital, energy and land right away.

A process that can produce large amounts of purified water without extensive energy costs, which can produce safe water from almost any contaminated fresh or salt water source, which can be easily scaled to be installed close to the point of consumption and which can operate for years without expensive membrane replacements is necessary to solve the problem. This invention provides this solution.

One of the big problems with water purification is that in the industrialized world, problem solvers get stuck in the box of infrastructure. Even Googling for the topic of water purification, brings up links for large purification processes... something that's not practical for someone living in a grass hut sleeping on a dirt floor.

So think out of the box... think (like presented below) like a camper, rather than a city dweller.


Water Purifiers are designed to remove, kill, or inactivate bacteria or any other disease-causing organisms. As noted above, EPA does not certify water filters but it registers some water treatment devices to show that these devices use bacteriostatic agents which slow the growth of microbes within the treatment unit. EPA simply verifies the bacteriostatic claims on the treatment unit label but not the effectiveness of the agent.

Some water purifiers can be carried in backpacks, and traveling bags.
Some portable water purifiers can be used at campgrounds, offices and any other outside events.

Importance of water filters:
Everyone has a desire for healthy and refreshing water. However, some water may not be fit to drink due to various circumstances mentioned above. For water to be healthy and fit to drink, it should meet certain conditions such as:

--A suitable temperature.
--No turbidity.
--Pleasant taste.

When drinking water lacks any of these conditions, a treatment device is needed to bring it to a desired taste and beauty. There are several types water filters or purifiers to remove any possible contaminants in drinking water. A filter of choice will depend on the specific contaminants that need to be removed. Different types include whole house, undersink or under counter, counter top or tabletop, pitchers, faucet-mount, and refrigerator water filters.

Water filters and purifiers come in variety of sizes and brands which can give you better quality water than you will get from bottled water – and even at a lower cost than regularly buying bottled water. Some filters are designed into a cylindrical case to remove sediments and heavy metals, and some to remove taste and odors. Other devices are portable in form of water bottles, water coolers, and pitchers.

Types of Technologies to resolve drinking water problems:

Activated carbon filters
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Carbon Block Filters
Distillation Systems
Water Softeners
Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection

Choosing the right water treatment device and using the right water treatment technology is critical to resolving any water problems. Browse our website for detailed descriptions of the different water filtration and technologies.

Got any ideas on potable water? Desalinazation?


Most development is urban, because generally the best way for the rural poor to advance is to become urban poor.

Still, for affordable solutions to foreseeable short term water crises, this doesn't seem too bad: http://www.gofastandlight.com/cart.php?category_id=69&product_id=451&target=product.

Although I can't find links to it, but I've been to a couple of talks from people who seemed very confident that the cost of desalination was about to collapse. Coca Cola, in particular, are putting simply amazing amounts of money into it. It's part of the reason that China is holding off on building enough plants for its people now.
I like to assume worst-case scenario... as you say, like disaster relief.

There's a saying among military contractors: Design for the Navy, sell to the Air Force. The Navy has more stringent specs, so if you cover those, you'll be able to sell to the Air Force no problem.

So one worst case scenario for water is high desert. No trees, no freshwater, no heavy machinery, windstorms that kick up a lot of dust, heavy metals and other dangerous poisons (like arsenic) in the soil.

Another is, say, NOLA post Katrina & Rita. Or Baghdad.

Have you read the information on Plumpy'Nut? Now that's an elegant solution...
Belt and braces approaches tend to have their place, but most development solutions benefit from not having too much in the way of bells and whistles.

Do you have any examples of large scale disasters in the high desert in mind? For the most part, one of the really good things about bare deserts from a disaster perspective is that they tend to be pretty empty.

I'm not sure that NOLA post Katrina had all that much in the way of centrally resolveable water shortages, other than the mythical convention centre apocalypse. I'm not sure where you're going with Baghdad, either.

The Plumpy'Nut is, indeed, neat, but appears to be a poor solution to water shortages. I'm not sure the $100 laptop quenches thirst well, either.
Earthquake in Pakistan... that's all high desert. http://www.workers.org/2005/editorials/pakistan-1027/

High desert isn't desert like you'd typically think of it (no Lawrence of Arabia)... Denver is high desert. That's a lot of people.

I was giving Plumpy'Nut as an example of a distribution solution... I'm not looking for centrally resolvable shortages. That's industrialized thinking. I'm looking for point-of-use to give support to the disenfranchised.
Good example. I'm very entertained by the choice of publication to link to.

Plumpy'Nut strikes me as something that's best distributed in places with reasonable vectors for doing so, since its non-perishable nature would appear to make it appealing to embezzelers. Still, yes, if you're talking about disaster relief rather than development, it's an awesome thing and a part of the way forward.

Mslow on steroid...

Assuming the 3* B's are taken care of, here's e hierarchy as I see it:

Waste processing

Have you watched the Barnett video mentioned in the profile?

*beating, breathing, bleeding -- the 3 b's of EMTs
**can be more or less pressing depending on the environment

rural v urban

"The urban area has been seen as the mecca, the place to go to learn. But cities around the world can't support the people moving in," said Professor Wampler, who wants to improve village life so people can earn money without migrating to cities.

"It's clear that when people move to the city, the majority of them don't have a better life. They might have a little money, but no food or shelter," he said.

"New concept of village emerges in MIT-designed housing in Turkey" http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2000/wampler.html

Re: rural v urban

There are all sorts of places where the cities aren't experiencing much growth, but those tend to be places where there simply isn't much growth. It's helpful sometimes to encourage some people to stay in the countryside, but developing countries have most of their population there and developed something closer to 2% of theirs.

In particular, the benefits that we can bring from the west tend to be much more cost efficient in cities, although obviously if you're wanting sweat shop labour or other forms of abuse the extremities obviously offer some advantages.

The article you link is a pretty good example of the prejudices underlying anti-urban developers. You have environmentalists who would prefer that people lived a pastoral lifestyle uniting with racists who want to keep the Kurds, Armenians, and so on out of their ethnically "white" cities. There's an amazing amount of prejudice felt by the civilised west of Turkey against the poorer east.

This isn't to say that there's no good rural aid, but I think it is worth being suspicious of.

Re: rural v urban

I understand that. That's not the point f this community.

Relief aid has to deal with situations as they are right now, not how we'd like them to be.

And moving folks to the city isn't always a good idea, even though there's (so far) more money there. Look at any of the mega-slums.

This is all about rural aid.

Re: rural v urban

You're completely right. I'd read that, joined, and then forgotten about it and been reading "development" when I should have been reading "disaster relief".

Development is absolutely about making things how we'd like them to be, disaster relief is about the situation right now. With disaster relief one has to be reactive, patching up problems, with development one can plan, build, create, and transform.

That said, having much of the population leave is a really important part of supporting them in a lot of these situations. In Pakistan, one of the central messages was to come down from the mountains. In NOLA, the best solution for a lot of people was to go to Houston, and stay in Houston, and that solution allowed more of the remaining resources to be devoted to those who were staying. Cities tend to be much better at handling significant immigration than rural areas.

The situation in megaslums is often significantly better than the situation of the rural poor. Not always, but often.

Re: rural v urban

But if a city is not an option, you get refuge camps that almost enevitably end up as more permanent settlements that they weren't designed for.

Don't think about how the US or Europe handle these situations. We're fairly well developed humanitarians. And for local problems, like NOLA, there isn't a problem with penetration.

But Chad? Thailand? The Amazon? Resource penetration is a bitch.

What I'd like to see is a box that could create a self-sufficient family structure, including things like electricity and toilets, that can be made in a day and are strong enough to last for years...