Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cause of the Month: Water for People

Did you ever stop to think about water, and exactly how important it is to sustain all living things? In America, water is as common as a terrible singer on a popular reality show. We take it for granted. Big time. Are you aware of exactly how desperate some countries are for potable, sanitary drinking water? I would say that access to potable, sanitary drinking water is a basic human right. Wouldn't you? Unfortunately, it is not a reality for many people of the world. People in countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia and India mostly drink, bathe and urinate/defecate in the same water source. It is utterly despicable that some people must live this way - can you imagine drinking sewage with your dinner? It is also a major source of disease - cholera being a big one. Cholera is a nasty, nasty disease and a shitty (literally) way to suffer and die.

Luckily, there are agencies out there that are trying to bring potable drinking water to undeveloped nations so that the people can be free from the water-born disease, and enjoy a human right that we should all have. I introduce you to PlayPumps! Water For People and Case Foundation are working with PlayPumps International to tackle the world water issue. I learned about PlayPumps during my undergrad and I must say, I think it is SUCH a fantastic idea! 

How PlayPumps Work
  • While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground.
  • A simple tap (5) makes it easy for adults and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6).
  • The water storage tank (7) provides a rare opportunity to advertise in outlaying communities. All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance.
  • The design of the PlayPump water system makes it highly effective, easy to operate and very economical, keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum.
  • Capable of producing up to 1,400 liters of water per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40 meters, it is effective up to a depth of 100 meters.

Genius idea, I think! 

The PlayPump is a great school/clinic option. Water For People begins implementing this solution in 2010 as a way to improve school water solutions. A spinning merry-go-round pumps water out of a borehole and up into a tank. Great for hand-washing and serving  part of a community, this will first be implemented in Malawi as a means to create full coverage in a community. This is one of several options available for communities.

Check it out in action: