Team Creates Clean Water Solution for South Africans

Team Creates Clean Water Solution for South Africans


James Smith, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Dr. Rebecca Dillingham, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health, with a PureMadi water filter.


In areas where water is often filled with pathogens that are deadly or can cause severe illness it is important to either filter water or, the alternative, have access to clean water. According to our partner WaterAid, 783 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly 11% of the world’s population. (WHO/UNICEF). Because of this women in the developing world spend 40 billion hours collecting water each year.

A University of Virginia team of professors and students has created a simple water filtration system that will clean one to three liters of dirty water each hour, enough for drinking and cooking for an average family.

The solution is called PureMadi, a ceramic water filter that kills pathogens that cause diarrhea, and dehydration, for example. Each PureMadi filter is coated with a trace amount of silver and copper to filter the water. After rigorous testing researchers found that the filter is safe and effective for filtering clean drinking water.

Currently the PureMadi team only works in South Africa, but their longterm goal is to provide PureMadi to a swath of African countries and also open factories where the PureMadi filter can be created. They have already opened a factory in Limpopo province, South Africa.

“Eventually that factory will be capable of producing about 500 to 1,000 filters per month, and our 10-year plan is to build 10 to 12 factories in South Africa and other countries,” James Smith, a U.Va. civil and environmental engineer who co-leads the project with Dr. Rebecca Dillingham, director of U.Va.’s Center for Global Health said. “Each filter can serve a family of five or six for two to five years, so we plan to eventually serve at least 500,000 people per year with new filters.”

Additionally, they make the MadiDrop, which as its name implies, is a ceramic drop that also cleans water, but doesn’t remove sediment from dirty water, but will kill pathogens.

Learn more at puremadi.org.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Jennifer! It is hard to believe how much time and energy is lost gathering water.

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