Producing simple kits for safe water in Rajasthan

October 3, 2017 by Robyn Mills, University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide researchers are planning to produce simple, low-cost, self-assembly water purification kits to provide fresh drinking water in the Indian state of Rajasthan, South Australia's sister state.

The kits make use of sunlight and gravity, some clever design and basic materials to produce up to 10 litres/day of safe drinking .

The University today launched its first official crowdfunding project to fund the research, which will be needed to design and produce the kits. The University aims to raise $30,000, to produce 1000 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 every year," says 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."

The original water purification kits were developed by Dr Birzer, his colleagues and students using glass tubing, metallised plastic and sunlight. The system makes use of UVA radiation direct from the sunlight to kill pathogens in the water.

A team of researchers, including engineers, microbiologists and anthropologists, will visit Rajasthan to engage with local communities and conduct assessments on local water quality, manufacturing capabilities and supply-chains before returning to Adelaide to develop and implement a customised solution.

"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," says Dr Birzer. For instance, the local Indian plant Moringa can be used to remove arsenic from contaminated water and could be mixed into a sand filter as a simple addition to the system.

"Once we've designed the kits, they will be produced in Rajasthan and distributed to the community through local partners," says 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."

Explore further: Chip packets help make safer water in Papua New Guinea

More information: Those wishing to help fund the project or just find out more should visit the crowdfunding page at universityofadelaide.pozible.c … er-filtration-system

Related Stories

Chip packets help make safer water in Papua New Guinea

September 11, 2014

University of Adelaide mechanical engineering students and staff have designed a low-cost and easily made drinking water treatment system suitable for remote communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) – using foil chip packets ...

Invention uses bacteria to purify water

April 4, 2017

A University of British Columbia-developed system that uses bacteria to turn non-potable water into drinking water will be tested next week in West Vancouver prior to being installed in remote communities in Canada and beyond.

Recommended for you

What happened before the Big Bang?

March 26, 2019

A team of scientists has proposed a powerful new test for inflation, the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Their goal is to give insight into ...

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...

Can China keep it's climate promises?

March 26, 2019

China can easily meet its Paris climate pledge to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but sourcing 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables and nuclear power by that date may be considerably harder, researchers ...

In the Tree of Life, youth has its advantages

March 26, 2019

It's a question that has captivated naturalists for centuries: Why have some groups of organisms enjoyed incredibly diversity—like fish, birds, insects—while others have contained only a few species—like humans.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.