Drought is a natural part of the climate cycle but it is becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. Water is an essential requirement for all life, but it is estimated that over two billion people live in areas where there is no access to clean water. Many women and children across the world travel long distances each day to collect water for drinking, hygiene and crop irrigation, affecting life chances for themselves and their families.
The Wello WaterWheel (1) is designed to assist with the collection and transportation of water. Its form was inspired by the shape of the matka, an earthenware pot traditionally used in India for water storage in the home. The development of the WaterWheel was the result of a series of pilot projects across India by a team who engaged with thousands of potential users. The 45 litre capacity drum, made from high density polyethylene (HDPE), is rolled on its side with the help of a handle bar. It has reinforced axels that protect the outer skin of the WaterWheel from wear and tear and handholds on either side provide better handling. The balanced shape is designed to increase performance over rough terrain.
There are other temporary reasons why clean drinking water might not be readily available. At sea, where the only water accessible is too salty for human consumption, the use of a solar still enables sufficient drinking water to be created to preserve life (2). This inflatable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) device is designed for emergency use to provide a source of clean drinking water by distillation and solar radiation. Using the heat of the sun, over a 24-hour period, up to 2000 litres of sea water can be evaporated and collected in the reservoir. A layer of black heat absorbing material helps to accelerate evaporation. This solar still design has been in use by both military and civilian services for over 50 years.
Where the only fresh water available is from a stream, river or lake for example, a device such as the SimPure Gravity Water System (3) can be used to filter out impurities. It comprises a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) water storage bag and an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) water filter straw, which includes a hollow fibre polypropylene (PP) layer. Over its lifetime it can remove dirt, parasites, viruses and bacteria to provide up to 1500 litres of clean, safe drinking water.