Group Members: Nisha Maharaja, Rajesh Ravikumar, Aadam Soorma

Problem Statement

Our research project will deliver a comprehensive review of rural water purification techniques. We will investigate the use of technology to aid in the transport and purification of clean water to rural villages and underprivileged populations. Our project aligns with the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) as clean water reduces the risk of infectious diseases, such as malaria, and waterborne illnesses, such as diarrhea - two preventable issues that can be traced back to impure water.


Solution Approach
Our solution approach will be to create a project proposal that details ways to add value, create cost-savings and streamline existing water purification efforts. By leveraging existing techniques and best practices for successful technology implementation, we hope to improve efficiency by reducing bottlenecks and forming clear distribution channels. By optimizing ways that clean water is allocated toward emerging geographies and redistributed across areas illustrating a high level of need, we can create a simple, sustainable course of action.

We plan on starting with a broad literature review - roughly 10 hours of research on existing water purification systems in low-infrastructure regions. Next, we will craft a proposal - about five hours - that starts with an overview, highlights problems and draws on research to deliver a budget, timeframe and method for technology application.

Finally, we will allocate time for draft editing and review. By collaborating with each other and any external sources, we can determine whether or not we’ve met our goal and lined up with our initial mission - implementing value-added technology to purify water by cutting costs, removing bottlenecks and illustrating a streamlined distribution channel for end-users.

Literature Review and Bibliography


1. Nanotechnology: Low-cost rural water purifier launched India (http://www.source.irc.nl/page/51562)

One of India’s largest chemical corporation, Tata Chemicals, has launched a low cost water purification device for households without any electricity or running water. This system called Swach would cost 30 rupees per month which half the cost of what is being offered now on market. This device is suitable for treating surface waters, but it does not remove any chemical contaminants. Tata aims to produce 3 million units per year over a 1 billion rupees investment.

WASH News and Features. "Nanotechnology: Low-cost Rural Water Purifier Launched in India." E-Source. WASH News and Features, 08 Jan. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <http://www.source.irc.nl/page/51562>.

2. Water Purification in Rural South Africa: Ethical Analysis and Reflection on Collaborative Community Engagement Projects in Engagement. (http://www.virginia.edu/jpc/docs/WaterPurificationSouthAfrica2010.pdf)

This paper written by University of Virginia students presents a sustainable development project in collaboration with University of Venda. The goal is to implement a sustainable and contextually appropriate water purification and distribution system. These students present the design and process for a slow sand filtration system to purify the water and present the issues surrounding group implementations, group timeframes and cross-cultural institutional collaborations. They examine the project on three evaluation criteria for service learning projects and explore possibilities for follow-up with University of Venda.

Harshfield, Eric . " International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering." International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering. 4.1 (2009): 1-14. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

3. Global Water

Global water is an international, non-profit humanitarian organization committed to develop safe water supplies in rural areas of developing countries. Water supply projects have programs that include effective sanitation and hygiene facilities in association with related health education. Global Water focuses on long-term solutions such as providing equipment which would be a permanent solution. Their strategy involves securing, purifying, storing and distributing new sources of water and drilling new wells to access groundwater. This article goes on describing Global Water’s activities, collaborations and their approach to solving these type of problems. (http://globalwater.org/background.htm)
Global Water. "Water Shortage, Drinking Water Crisis Solutions." Water Shortage, Drinking Water Crisis Solutions. Global Water, 14 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <http://globalwater.org/background.htm>.


Expected Outcomes

Our hope is to deliver sound, viable solutions that act as a catalyst in developing rural, drought-stricken regions of the world with better access to clean water. By presenting our ideas to both public AND private sector sponsors, we are better able to aggregate key players in the development sector that are willing to invest in such a program.


We plan on presenting our proposal to corporate leaders, relevant NGOs and government institutions from around the world. By applying for grants, fundraising and partnering with development organizations, we can begin testing our hypothesis in afflicted regions.


Eventually we would like our solution to blossom into a mainstream, successful solution.