The 100L Water Project

How can we provide clean water to the developing world to increase health and free up valuable human capital in rural communities?
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Background

Access to water is a basic human need. Yet, in many areas of the world, access to basic quantities of clean water for drinking, domestic use, or for a kitchen garden is a daily challenge. The average woman in rural India walks more than 8700 miles each year, gathering and carrying heavy loads of water on her head or hips that is often contaminated by human and animal waste, fluoride, and arsenic.

There are numerous solutions related to water. One of the major constraints for distributed communities is that many of the solutions have to be deployed at a larger scale. This implies community consensus, which either impedes adoption rates, or implies diversion or subversion by the existing power structure.

A sustainable system providing individual water security, if adopted, would free up valuable human capital, increase health of the community, and ensure low energy use around current and future water consumption. This in turn would result in social, environmental, health, and economic benefits.

Intent

Rainwater has the potential to provide reliable, pure water to areas of the developing world without the need for government intervention or upgrades to community-level infrastructure. Rainwater harvesting provides clean water at home and is one of the approaches supported by the Rural Water Supply sector of the Indian Government.

The 100L Water Project catalyzed an integrated rainwater harvesting and end-use system targeted to consumers in rural India. The components of the rainwater harvesting system include low-cost storage, off-grid pumping, and sink designed to include greywater recycling. The system empowers users to take full control of their water supply and demand. In doing so, we hope to inspire individuals to revisit and rethink their interactions with water.

Approach

Water is an issue highly integrated with other issues. By addressing access to water, one simultaneously has the opportunity to generate employment, improve agricultural practices, reduce environmental footprint, and tackle social issues such as the burden borne by women in water disputes.

The team focused on designing a system with the following attributes:

  • Independent of government- or community-level action
  • Low threshold of adoption
  • Low cost and preferred to the current water solution
  • Simple to use and maintain
  • Extremely reliable
  • Powered by renewable or human energy
  • Easily transportable without the need of trucks
  • Scalable
  • Likely to spread virally

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