Table of Contents
Clean water for daily living is a challenge in many countries on every inhabited continent of the world. The statistics about the availability of water are shocking:
- Worldwide, 650 million people don't have any regular access to clean water. They are forced to collect water from water holes, puddles of rainwater, from farm runoff, and even from cesspools for drinking, washing clothes, and household purposes. Usually women and girls are given the task of collecting water for the rest of the family. They may have to walk as much as six hours a day to and from water holes carrying 10 liters of water in containers carefully balanced on their heads. These containers weigh 10 kilograms, or about 22 pounds.
- Worldwide, 2.3 billion people don't have access to a toilet. In much of India and Africa, women have to wait until dark falls before they can relieve themselves outside, in the open. Men typically make their toilets in broad daylight. The feces may be collected from city streets, but it is allowed to accumulate where it falls in rural areas. Disease results.
- Worldwide, 500 thousand infants every year die of diarrhea contracted from contaminated water.
- In the developing world, one out of two hospital admissions is for diarrhea.
- The most cost-effective investment in infrastructure is providing clean water. Increased productivity repays the investment in clean water by a factor of 400 percent.
- Water filters tend to accumulate bacteria. Even worse, they accumulate the kinds of bacteria that form biofilms, sticky surfaces that bind millions of bacteria together. This enables the bacteria to accumulate in the filter. When they contaminate drinking water, they become the kinds of bacteria that are very hard to treat with antibiotics, and especially likely to cause skin infections (after they pass out of the digestive tract).
- Much available water is salty or brackish. The ideal water filter would take out salt and pollutant chemicals as well as bacteria.
- Water needs to taste and smell good as well as to be good for you. Water filters should take out odors and off tastes.